Bunuru Giving Back to the Community

Our Bunuru program provides intensive mentoring support and development for participants involved in youth justice across the key development areas of education and training with the aim of reducing recidivism and providing employment pathways for young males.

Over the past couple of months, participants from our Bunuru program have been working on building a cubby house for a new childcare centre opening in Leda, Djinda Dreaming Education.

The structure of the program aims to provide young people with experience in ‘real life’ working skills. Through this cubby house project, participants were guided by their mentors including carpenter, James, learning a range of planning, budgeting and practical building skills.

“We drew up the plans, did the measuring, worked out what materials we’d need, got quotes to buy everything and sent emails to Shayne, the Bunuru Coordinator, to make sure it was all OK,” he said.

Recently, the boys delivered the cubby house to Djinda Dreaming Education in Leda. With the help of their mentors, they guided the 420kg cubby into the childcare centre and proudly hung the polished jarrah sign, reading ‘Donated by Bunuru’. They then got to start what will be an ever-growing decoration of black, yellow and red handprints on the outside walls of the cubby house.

One of the boys said he was looking forward to seeing some of the children add their own small handprints. “We left it white for that reason,” he said.

Bunuru Coordinator, Shayne, said the boys learn a lot from the program, from the courtesy of texting a mentor if they weren’t going to be at the workshop, to gaining qualifications, such as a ticket in forklift.

“We have the boys on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and do visits to their homes on Mondays and Fridays,” he said.

“We provide 24/7 support. We also go into Banksia Hill Detention Centre and help the boys in there with training and getting their white card and we keep mentoring them when they’re released. We engage with their families too, while the boys are in Banksia.”

Senior Youth Justice Officer, Stacey Madden, also spoke on the impact Bunuru has had for participants. “They give back to the community,” she said. “They make new friends, learn about teamwork and find out about the importance of turning up and finishing something.”

Djinda Dreaming Leda childcare centre manager, Tanya Niese, said she knew other Djinda Dreaming centres that would have plenty of work for the boys and is looking forward to seeing them at the opening of the centre.

 “We’re planning a big opening of the centre, with a Welcome to Country by an Elder, and some dancing,” she said. “The boys will be invited.”

The boys are very excited to see the cubby being used by the children at Djinda Dreaming. Speaking to one of the participants, he said “I never played in a cubby when I was growing up but it’s good that other Aboriginal kids will be able to enjoy this.”

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