Photo: Credit Amanda James
West Coast Fever netballer Josie Janz is delighted that the groundbreaking Indigenous program she’s involved with is earning recognition from leaders Australia-wide.
The Deadly Sista Girlz program recently won the education category at this year’s Deadly Awards for its contribution to bettering educational outcomes for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
Janz is the Deadly Sista Girlz Program Manager and is one of many mentors involved in the program.
Janz, fellow mentor Melina Saunders, and a group of Deadly Sista Girlz program participants from the ACT travelled to Sydney to accept the award on behalf of the David Wirrpanda Foundation.
While sports stars – in particular netballers – play prominent roles in mentoring young girls aged between eight and 17 through the program, Janz said there’s success stories in all walks of life.
“A lot of our mentors share their cultural identity and going through any system be it at school, in their chosen sport or the workplace,” Janz said. “It’s about those people sharing their journey and how they came across challenges and overcame them
“We never want girls to have any barriers in whatever they want to do.
“So a lot of the program is sharing our stories but we do have healthy message and activities we want to share as well.
“A lot of our mentors are from regional areas so we’ve got a lot of connections to be able to go into communities where we’ve already got that trust and it does inspire them when we do stand and tell our stories.”
Other netballers who’ve been involved in the program as mentors include Josie’s sister Alicia, Saunders, Kirby Bentley, Sarah Wall and Courtney Tairi.
Janz said she gets a lot of satisfaction out of seeing girls who they started mentoring when the program began four years ago now completing their studies.
“I’m not saying that we’ve been the total influence, but for some of the girls they are the first in their families to get to year 12. So even going to school regularly is a big thing for their families,” Janz said.
Through funding from FaCSIA’s Community Action Grants, Netball Australia has partnered with the David Wirrpanda Foundation since 2012 to support the delivery of the Deadly Sista Girlz program at five sites across Australia, including Gilmore College (WA), Karabar High School (NSW), Coodanup Community College (WA), Worawa Aboriginal College (VIC) and John Tonkin College (WA).