CULTURE
EDUCATION
COMMUNITY

Annual Report 2021

ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF COUNTRY

NASCA acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We honour and respect the cultural heritage, customs and beliefs of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have spiritual, social and cultural connections with their traditional lands and waters. We would like to express our sincerest gratitude to the communities on whose land NASCA works.

2021 NASCA NAIDOC Youth Award Winners

OUR VALUES

The five foundations of our objectives and strategies

WE EMPOWER ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER YOUNG PEOPLE TO BE PROUD, STRONG AND SUCCESSFUL.

We use culture, arts, academic support, community engagement, sports, and mentorship as tools to bring young people together and to support them to achieve self determined futures. We are 100% Aboriginal led. And we are guided by five core values that anchor all of our objectives and strategies.

3

CULTURAL PRIDE & INCLUSION

1

TRUST

EXCELLENCE

4

COLLABORATION

2

INTEGRITY

The past year was characterised by great challenges and exponential growth, and through it all NASCA exhibited strength and flexibility. Our 2021 Annual Report conveys the outcomes and impacts of this time via stories from the young people we work with, our staff and our community.
The groundwork has been laid for us to consolidate our gains in 2022, centred around connection to culture, education and community.

Watch NASCA’s 2021 Year in Review.

OUR IMPACT

With Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures at the centre of everything we do.

OUR PROGRAMS EMPOWER STUDENTS AND THE WIDER COMMUNITY TO DREAM BIG. WE ENGAGE YOUNG PEOPLE THROUGH CULTURE, SPORT AND ARTS TO INSPIRE GROWTH, ACHIEVEMENT AND WELLBEING.

For over 26 years, we have worked with communities across Australia to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to achieve their full potential. Since our establishment in 1995, we have worked with more than 12,000 young people and delivered many thousands of hours of programming.

In 2021 we expanded our impact and scale exponentially.

We supported 1500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people – twice as many as in 2020. We more than doubled our team and achieved greater than 75% Indigenous staffing. We launched 10 new programs, bringing our national total to 28. We saw a record number of our young people – 63 of them, up from 19 participants in 2020 – graduate from Year 12. And our community of partners and supporters investing in our program development has grown significantly, allowing us to further extend our reach in 2022.

The year began with the announcement of $7.9 million federal government funding for NASCA and it ended with a farewell to our longtime CEO Leanne Townsend, who shepherded the organisation for nine years and left with NASCA in a position of amazing strength. Ensuring continuity and ongoing strong Indigenous female leadership, in early 2022 we welcomed incoming CEO Alison Bentick.

Alison is a proud Torres Strait Islander who worked for the federal government for 19 years in such portfolios as Indigenous Education, Employment and Disability. Recently, she has been leading priorities in the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) to build genuine partnerships with community to improve the lives of Indigenous people. Alison is passionate about supporting Indigenous young leaders, embedding social change with lasting impact for the betterment of their communities.

We will remember 2021 as a challenging year. There was a lot of change for the NASCA family and the organisation, but we move into 2022 with strong foundations, set to amplify our impact.

Listen to NASCA Youth of the Year winner Dre Lang-Carr

“NASCA has helped me in so many ways – they’ve helped me to achieve my academic goals, they’ve helped me to hand in assessments when I didn’t think I could. NASCA has made me feel so welcome and proud to be Aboriginal.”

– Mackenzie Humphries, Wiradjuri, Wellington High School youth leader, 2021 NASCA Collaboration winner

COVID-19 IMPACTS AND NASCA RESPONSE

NASCA programs in 2021 were severely impacted by COVID-19. All Department of Education schools in Sydney moved to remote learning from June 23 (Term II) until November 18 (Term VI). Across all school sites, more than three months of learning was delivered online. School returned for the majority of Term VI under Level 3+ restrictions.

In our NSW regional sites, NASCA implemented a re-engagement plan in Term VI to ensure that all students were supported in their return to school. NASCA monitored and tracked students’ return and implemented an action plan for those who hadn’t yet returned, including phone contact and home visits to support families. Feedback from the Department of Education at the end of Term VI was very positive, with 96% of NASCA students across NSW returning to school post stay-at-home orders, compared with 93% of Aboriginal students not enrolled in the NASCA program.

How COVID-19 impacted on students and NASCA’s program delivery:

  • Increased need for referral of students for support with their mental health due to isolation.
  • Increased disengagement from study and/or school, with additional one-onone support required.
  • Decreased access to learning, including ‘school work’ and teacher support.
  • Increase in negative social media impacts, including cyber bullying and education and health-related misinformation.
  • Decrease in community engagement and cultural connection opportunities.
  • Decrease in excursions and access to post-school training and tertiary institutions.

Many students had great difficulties with online learning, including access to online resources. Students were given the opportunity for daily check-ins with NASCA, to connect with fellow NASCA students and to receive support with their school work during individual school Zoom sessions.

How NASCA supported students:

  • Daily check-ins with young people and families.
  • Online NASCA sessions.
  • In-class staff attendance.
  • Delivery of IT equipment (WiFi dongles and laptops).
  • Delivery of exams (drop off and pick up).
  • Delivery of work books.
  • Delivery of family care packages.

NASCA provided wraparound support, working alongside schools to assist families that required greater support during stay-at-home orders. Staff worked to ensure that families were equipped to manage online learning and to provide families and students with an opportunity to raise concerns or difficulties with remote learning. NASCA made sure wellbeing check-ins were regular and consistent, providing additional support and ensuring students were not disproportionately disadvantaged by remote learning. The range of activities allowed students and families to engage across a variety of platforms and at times that were convenient to them.

CULTURAL PRIDE & INCLUSION

In our community.

WE ARE CONNECTED TO CULTURE AND WE WORK TO DEVELOP THE STRENGTHS OF OUR YOUNG PEOPLE, OUR STAFF AND OUR COMMUNITIES.

Strong connection to culture benefits all areas of our young people’s wellbeing – it is key to building confidence and healthy, fulfilled lives. It is the ground on which to navigate the challenges of life.

“When I started this painting, I had no idea what I was going for or why. Then I lost a close friend, and the more I look at this painting the more I feel the meaning behind it. You see all the birds flying in different directions, but the meeting place in the corner is where all the birds are flying to. Even though you and your family are taking different directions, different paths in life, we will always meet again at the end of life.”

– Janaya Sampson, 14

Our programs provide space to heal, learn, share and walk together. Through this, we contribute to proud, strong and resilient communities.

The 2021 NAIDOC Week theme #HealCountry cut to the heart of the challenges facing this country and to the solutions that are already here – we can work together to Heal Country, to heal each other, and to heal ourselves. NASCA is proud to be part of this work, and we are proud to walk alongside our young people, listening to their experiences, their dreams, their strengths and their passions. As we listen, we join in the work with them to Heal Country.

Listen to NASCA staff reflect on what the 2021 NAIDOC theme ‘Heal Country’ means to them.

“Our culture has been around for so many years. What our culture has been through, for us to still be alive is a very great experience. Our ancestors would want us to all be together and come together as one.”

– Taleah is a 2021 NASCA Integrity winner
Janaya Sampson, 14, contributed her art to the Proud in Culture and Strong in Spirit exhibition held by the Bumbira Arts and Culture Program and the Tamworth Opportunity Hub. For Janaya, being proud in culture and strong in spirit means connection to the land, her people and her ancestors. Janaya is a proud Gomeroi woman and was part of NASCA Tamworth in 2021.
For Taleah Carter, a proud Biripi woman who grew up on Dharug land, connecting to culture and coming together as community is a continuation of what her ancestors began.

“I want to try to find what mob I’m from, and when I do it’s going to mean so much to me to know my ancestors. As soon as I came to high school and got involved with NASCA and the Aboriginal classes, I was, like, I really love my culture.”

– Lisa Swinnerton-Slee, 2021 NASCA Youth of the Year winner

“NASCA has helped me develop a connection with a culture around Australia. It makes me feel I am a part of something, and there’s no limits.”

– Harley Sevander, 2021 NASCA Collaboration winner

“NASCA has been very helpful to me and very welcoming. I am very proud of who I’m becoming. They have made me feel proud of who I am and my culture. I am very grateful for NASCA – I couldn’t ask for better people.”

– Samira Ryan, Kamilaroi/Wiradjuri, Year 11, Wellington High School, NSW

TRUST

In community.

WE ARE OPEN AND CLEAR IN OUR MISSION.
WE ARE FLEXIBLE, LISTENING TO COMMUNITIES AND ADAPTING TO RESPOND TO LOCAL NEEDS. WE BUILD DEEP TRUST WITH THE YOUNG PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES WE WORK WITH.

Even in 2020, in the first days and then months of COVID-19, we could not have foreseen how 2021 was going to test our capacity to maintain, nurture and grow our relationships. But our flexibility and the strength of our connections with our young people, our communities and our trusted supporters enabled us to maintain our bonds and to emerge from the year with even deeper commitments to working, and walking, together.

In the NT, we work with nine communities – some have been NASCA partners for more than 15 years – and normally we visit three times a year. But the realities of COVID-19 and the need to keep our communities safe meant that we had to scale back in 2021 – our usual three NT visits were cut to two. However, on those two trips we did amazing work by visiting nine communities, with 25 volunteers, and connecting with more than 540 students.

Not being able to be face to face was a serious challenge – we kept in touch with our NT communities, but we wanted to do more. So, during Term III we designed and delivered 10 virtual workshops at six locations. We made sure that teachers had exactly what they needed and, thanks to generous support from DHL, we sent them all the materials they required. As a result, students across the NT were able to participate in our virtual workshops – this had a huge impact in maintaining connection and trust when COVID tried to keep us out.

“Thank you to the NASCA team for your support of Haasts Bluff during 2021, a year which posed a few challenges for program delivery. Even in Term VI, when NASCA was not able to visit, the instructional videos that you created engaged students and were a great help in illuminating workshop activities. Thank you for your commitment to mentoring young Aboriginal students in our community and the NT.”

– Geoff Gillman, Haasts Bluff School principal, NT

“Sending a big THANK YOU to you and your crew. My Langkwa class enjoyed the activities.”

– Susan, Ntaria School, NT

“A million thanks, Skye, to you and the team – we appreciate the effort you have gone to.”

– Emma, Ntaria School, NT

Further south, at our Dubbo College South Academy, NASCA students created their ‘Family Tree’. The tree represents the respect and rapport built between students and leaders, who share care and concern for each other. The tree is the visual representation of the Dubbo NASCA community

“The girls love it, as we always say we are a family and now they have the visual family tree to admire.”

– Julie Adams, NASCA Program Lead, Dubbo College South

As we reflect on 2021, and deepen our commitment in 2022 to support the young people we work with, we are focusing on connection – connecting back to school, to NASCA, to family, and to the communities we are part of. Together, we are family in this work towards achieving a world where all our young people thrive.

Listen to what trust means to NASCA Youth Award winner Kenni Samuel.

How we build trust:

  • Commitment, accountability and delivery.
  • Extensive community consultation.
  • Constant evaluation.
  • Sticking to our values.
  • Passion for what we do.

How we maintain trust:

  • Meaningful program evaluation.
  • Sustained points of engagement.
  • Virtual engagement (particularly in 2020 and 2021).
  • Clear communication and transparency.
  • Working with communities on common goals.
  • Two-way learning and positive engagement.

For Pitjantjara woman Tabeal West, it’s important that NASCA is a safe space for people to be able to talk about how they’re really feeling and what they’re going through.

“We can all learn each other’s stories – and heal.”

– Tabeal West, Pitjantjara, 2021 NASCA Trust winner

AUNTIES DAY, 2 JUNE 2021

At NASCA we love our Aunties, so in 2021 we designated June 2 as NASCA’s Aunties Day, to celebrate the unconditional love of Aunties and thank them for their incredible support. Our friends and stakeholders gathered for NASCA’s first Aunties Day breakfast to acknowledge the contributions Aunties make in building resilient, strong children and young adults.

“Aunties Day is our way of saying thank you to all our Aunties and to honour them, and to support the many strong young female leaders who are taking up leadership roles in schools and universities and within our communities. I, like many other people, come from families led by our mothers, our aunties and our sisters. I celebrate our successes and am here to share the positive stories and strategies that push for change.”

– Leanne Townsend, Anaiwan Nation, NASCA CEO

AUNTY’ IS NOT JUST AN AFFECTIONATE TERM IN ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLAND CULTURES, IT IS A MARK OF RESPECT AND KINSHIP AND REFLECTS THE HOLISTIC AND INTERCONNECTED NATURE OF FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE’S LIVES.

END OF YEAR BBQ

Despite a really tough year, we were able to hold an end of year BBQ and event at each NASCA site. Students met with staff in separate year groups to share food and a general check in with peers and the program team. Students were able to reflect on the year and what they had achieved, as well as discuss holiday plans and intentions for 2022. Despite the challenges and restrictions of 2021, NASCA staff have been able to maintain and build connections with our young people, particularly since the return of on-site learning.

EXCELLENCE

In achievement.

WE WORK TO CREATE AN EQUAL PLAYING FIELD FOR EVERYONE TO BE THE BEST THEY CAN BE, ADDRESSING BARRIERS TO SUCCESS AND FOSTERING EXCELLENCE.

Each day in schools, we are presented with young people who are achieving inspiring things for themselves and their communities. Mardigan woman Janaya Rose is one of the strong, resilient, successful young leaders we were very proud to support in 2021. During the year, Janaya became her school’s first Cultural Captain, graduated from Year 12, gained entry to training at a Royal Navy base, and topped it off by being named the Western Plains winner of the ABC Heywire competition.

Heywire each year calls for stories from high school aged students in regional, rural and remote Australia. At NASCA, we assist the young people we work with to amplify their voices and contribute to their communities and beyond. NASCA Program Lead Tracey Piggott presented Janaya with the opportunity to enter the Heywire competition, and Janaya took it with both hands, submitting a powerful story of facing up to and working through challenging life circumstances.

“My story reflects my battle with mental health and how it has impacted my life deeply. With this, I tried to create an understanding for others to be aware of mental health and the effects it has on individuals within their communities.”

At NASCA, our model strengthens connection to culture, builds confidence and improves educational outcomes. We connect with the young people we work with, and from that trusting connection we support them to achieve the goals they set for themselves, so they can achieve their own excellence.

“I wouldn’t be heading to the Navy without NASCA’s support,” says Janaya. “Especially Dubbo Senior Campus NASCA Staff, Tracey Piggott and Abbie Merritt – they pushed me to achieve and helped find opportunities for me.”

In 2021, proud young Gamilaraay man Jalil White, one of our 2020 Youth of the Year winners, was awarded the Hospitality 120 Hour Specialisation Award at the NSW VET Awards. These awards celebrate the dedication of students, their teachers, schools and community partners to Vocational Education and Training in NSW state schools. The award recognises Jalil’s commitment, passion and excellence in his hospitality studies.

Bundjalung woman Armani Pulevaka is a 2021 NASCA Excellence winner. Now in Year 12, Armani began her NASCA journey in Year 7 at Tempe High School, NSW. Armani displays excellence through her interactions with younger students, as a leader and role model students can turn to. “Excellence means improving myself with things that I struggle with and getting better and better at it as I move forward. NASCA has helped a lot with my confidence.”

“This award makes me feel accomplished and makes me proud. I guess hard work pays off!”

– Jalil Wite, Gamilaraay, Airds High School, NSW

“Words cannot express the gratitude we have for NASCA, who have provided endless opportunities for my two girls which I will be forever grateful for. Keep up the amazing work you are all doing for our mob – it doesn’t go unnoticed and I can’t wait to see what the next generation is going to bring.”

– Kelly Pulevaka, mother of Armani Pulevaka, NSW
Hear what excellence means to NASCA NAIDOC Youth Award winner Armani Pulevaka.

COLLABORATION

In the community.

WE BUILD LONG-TERM PARTNERSHIPS THAT ENABLE OUR WORK, SHARING KNOWLEDGE AND RESOURCES AND BUILDING RESPECTFUL, ENQUIRING RELATIONSHIPS.

NASCA programs collaborate across sites, sharing learnings and designing experiences to empower our young people. In May 2021, on Dunghutti country in NSW, our Kempsey and Melville secondary school programs came together for the Dunghutti Language and Cultural Camp, focused on the NASCA value of Cultural Pride & Inclusion.

Students participated in cultural connection activities with local elders Aunty Cheryl and Aunty Nancy. The experiences were amazing, starting with the Welcome to Country (in traditional language) and learning about culture.

NASCA delivered a range of different activities, including weaving, sand art, native flower arrangements and sea life conservation, and Aunty Nancy contributed her knowledge of the local area. The students were very fortunate to be greeted by a pod of dolphins (Badarr) and a sea turtle (Dhawarr).

This experience had positive effects on students, including connection to country and culture, which in turn motivates and supports positive engagement in school and within community.

“The Dunghutti Language and Culture Camp was a wonderful way for our NASCA students to come together, build relationships and connect to culture. It was great for us as staff, too – the more we work together and collaborate, the better the outcomes for the young people we work with.”

– Rosie Fatnowna, NASCA Program Lead, Melville Senior High School, NSW

CORPORATE PARTNERS AS COLLABORATORS

Ensuring a sustainable organisation is vital and allows NASCA to focus on supporting young people on their chosen pathway. Financial investment empowers us to deliver the work we are uniquely qualified to do as a culturally connected, outcomes-focused organisation.

Support for NASCA is an investment that sees a magnified and evidence-based social return – but it goes further. With intentional alignment with partners who share our values and vision, we have established relationships with organisations which recognise that NASCA brings mutual opportunity, growth and personal enrichment.

Together with our partners, communities, volunteers and donors, in 2021 we proved the strength, impact and resilience of NASCA. Together, we look forward to taking it further in 2022.

Listen to NASCA NAIDOC Youth Award Winner Harley Sevander reflecting on what collaboration means to him.

“A NASCA staff member once told me that I am a great leader, but I really believe that any student who shows up to a program in their community or school and celebrates Aboriginal culture is a leader in their own way.”

– Regan Craig, Kamilaroi, 2021 School Captain, Airds High School, NSW

LENDLEASE

The strength and depth of the NASCA–Lendlease partnership draws on 25 years of working together. The relationship is built on a long history of trust and evolving ways to best support the opportunities for young First Nations people to reach their full potential.

Over the past six months, NASCA has been working in partnership with Lendlease and Think Impact to quantify the social value created through our shared value approach. This work prioritises telling the stories of change that are experienced by the NASCA team, students, community and Lendlease. The full report will be released in 2022, but early results demonstrate that the investment has an exponential return and multiple layers of impact.

This history and shared vision to take a strengths-based, early investment approach to build the capabilities and capacity of First Nations young people is integral to the NASCA–Lendlease partnership and the social value it generates.

TAL INSURANCE

Our partnership with TAL, which began in 2019, is an exemplary illustration of true collaboration. TAL recently renewed its NASCA commitment for a further three years. Here, TAL’s Danny Sherman tells us of the meaning he has absorbed as a NASCA volunteer.

Our partnership with NASCA is key as TAL works towards a reconciled future through relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. Over the past 12 months, NASCA has supported our efforts in creating a culturally safe and inclusive workplace.

TAL has also worked with NASCA to support capacity building through education, employment and health outcomes. This partnership has given us opportunities to deepen cultural competency and awareness through volunteering and engagement events.

TAL has collaborated with NASCA on meaningful initiatives, including recent Innovation workshops in which we supported NASCA in reimagining future fundraising initiatives. Together we landed on commercialising NASCA’s existing Traditional Indigenous Games. TAL is now the Gold sponsor of the Games event.

VIVA ENERGY

Viva Energy has championed NASCA’s Airds Academy and its students for more than three years and recently announced it will extend its support beyond the initial pilot program.

Regan Craig, from Airds Academy is one of 63 NASCA students who graduated from high school in 2021, and we could not be prouder of him and his achievements. Regan is a Kamilaroi man and a member of the NASCA program since NASCA began at Airds High School in 2018. Regan has always shown a strong commitment to NASCA, the Airds community and his Aboriginal culture. Navigating incredibly challenging final school years through COVID-19, Regan was a 2020 NASCA Youth of the Year winner and School Captain of Airds High School in 2021.

INTEGRITY

In the community.

NASCA IS 100% ABORIGINAL GOVERNED, WITH 90% OF OUR PROGRAM TEAM INDIGENOUS.

In 2021, we were led by three proud, strong Aboriginal women: Leanne Townsend, Shannan Dodson and Skye Parsons. And in 2022, ensuring continuity, integrity of our mission and purpose, and ongoing strong Indigenous female leadership, we welcomed our new CEO, Alison Bentick.

CEO Leanne Townsend, who departed NASCA in 2022 after nine years of dedication, led the organisation in 2021 through an incredible period of transition and growth.

“At the fore is my sense of gratitude to all those I’ve had the honour to work alongside. I have learnt so much from our amazing young people and I have no doubt that our First Nations future is strong in their hands. I will miss working each day with the inspirational team that is Team NASCA! We have come a long way together, and I am proud that we have more than doubled our footprint and impact over the past year.”

Deputy CEO Shannan Dodson joined NASCA in 2021 to provide invaluable support and leadership as we consolidated 10 new programs across NSW.

“The sense of community was immediate, the passion of the team infectious. The organisation was growing rapidly and the team was doing impressive work to evolve and adapt in a very challenging year. I’m grateful to work alongside a team that exudes values of collaboration, trust, excellence, cultural pride and inclusion, and integrity. Their skills, experience and passion ensure that the young people we work with are supported and able to achieve their goals.”

National Program Director Skye Parsons was key to implementing our rapid expansion. Throughout 2021, she oversaw development of new NASCA programs and the hiring and management of more than 30 new staff.

“It’s really empowering to be able to work in an organisation that has a 100% Aboriginal board and with strong black women in leadership. During the past year, we’ve managed to bring our program team up to 90% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. That’s huge. Our team working on the ground come from the communities that our young people come from. They know what is useful and how to empower our students. Even during such a challenging year, the numbers show that our model works – having our role models alongside our young people in schools makes a real difference.”

Listen to our staff reflect on what NASCA means to them.

“The best thing about my mob – well, every Aboriginal person around me – is they are so friendly to me, they like me. And they help me with a lot of stuff, like NASCA.”

– Reice Kain, Wiradjuri, 2021 NASCA Integrity winner

“I want to be the role model I didn’t have growing up. I think if we did have those role models, there’d be a lot of young men I grew up with who would be here, talking about the benefits of having role models. With NASCA, we have positive role models, we have positive change.”

– Lyall Munro, NASCA Program Lead, 2011–2022

BY THE NUMBERS

2021 facts and figures.

IN 2021, WE GREW RAPIDLY BUT WE MAINTAINED OUR FLEXIBILITY. WE DELIVERED PROGRAMS TAILORED TO THE NEEDS OF OUR STUDENTS AND COMMUNITIES, AND SUPPORTED THEIR EDUCATION, HEALTH AND WELLBEING.

NASCA board includes 2 FORMER NASCA BENEFICIARIES

10 NEW NSW NASCA PROGRAMS for a national total of 28 across NSW and the NT

NASCA supports 1500 ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER YOUNG PEOPLE double 2020

NASCA program team includes 3 FORMER NASCA BENEFICIARIES

IN 2021, NASCA staff MORE THAN DOUBLED IN NUMBER

NASCA staff are 75% INDIGENOUS VERSUS 59% in 2020

The NASCA program team is 90% INDIGENOUS

NASCA is 100% INDIGENOUS governed and led

INDIGENOUS FEMALE LED : CEO Leanne Townsend, Deputy CEO Shannan Dodson, National Program Director Skye Parsons

NEW SOUTH WALES

  • Worked with 966 young people across 19 academies
  • 7000 hours of in-class support and mentoring
  • 10,000+ program hours
  • 63 NASCA participants graduated from Year 12 (up from 19 participants in 2020), the greatest number of NASCA HSC graduates in our 26 years of working in schools
  • 4% higher attendance rates compared with students not enrolled in NASCA

NORTHERN TERRITORY

  • Worked with 540+ young people across 9 remote communities
  • 500 hours of workshops, physical education, after-school engagement and academic support
  • 8% increase in attendance at school

WE EMPOWER ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER YOUNG PEOPLE TO:

  • Improve school attendance and school performance
  • Develop specific career pathways and work-ready skills
  • Strengthen cultural pride and identity
  • Build life skills, personal development and long-term resilience
  • Be strong in self and connected to community

WHO WAS SUPPORTED AND WHERE?*

REGIONSTUDENTSSCHOOLS
NSW96019
NT5409
Total150028

*Due to COVID-19 and associated reduced capacity to conduct programs, we are not reporting on our programs in WA for 2021.

ATTENDANCE

Attendance and school engagement is a priority for NASCA. Students enrolled with NASCA are more likely to attend school compared with Indigenous students not enrolled with NASCA. Our young people continue to excel and do themselves and their community and culture proud.

NSW

In 2021, students in our Academy for Young Women schools attended almost 8% more often than Indigenous students in the same schools who were not enrolled in NASCA programs.

  • 75% average attendance at NASCA’s Academies for Young Women
  • 67% average attendance for Indigenous students not enrolled in NASCA Academies for Young Women
  • Difference: +8% attendance

NT

When NASCA delivers programs in remote communities, attendance goes up by 8%.

  • 67% attendance rate when NASCA attends community
  • 59% remote school average
  • Difference: +8% attendance

VOLUNTEERS

COVID-19 significantly reduced our remote program trips in 2021. However, over the year we had the generous support of 25 volunteers with our remote programs.

NASCA WORKSHOPS

NSW

While COVID-19 impacted our NSW programs, we were able to maintain COVID-safe connection and programming in the majority of our locations.

NASCA SUPPORT IN NSW SCHOOLS

SUPPORTHOURS
In-class support7000
NASCA sessions1100
One-on-one mentoring1900
Cultural and community activities108
Total10,108

NT

COVID-19, and the need to keep safe the communities we work in, meant a big reduction in our ability to work in the NT. However, we provided workshops in Ali Curung, Yuelamu, Haasts Bluff, Papunya, Epenarra, Canteen Creek, Ntaria, Laramba and Ti Tree.

SOME OF OUR PEOPLE

Making what we do possible

SPOTLIGHT: NAT INGRAM

Nat Ingram is a firefighter, competitive athlete and two-time NASCA volunteer. In short, Nat is inspirational. We’ve been very lucky to have her join two trips to the NT, the last being to Laramba in June 2021.

“The main driver for volunteering was to gain an understanding of NASCA’s programs and their impact on First Nations communities, in particular on young people. The fact that NASCA is 100% Aboriginal governed and works with communities gave me confidence I was volunteering with a culturally safe and respectful organisation.

“Volunteering gives a greater perspective on the richness of culture, pride and community as well as the challenges faced by First Nations people in Australia. It was easily one of the richest and most profound experiences of my life.

“I had so many wonderful experiences – seeing the young people teaching the children games and caring for each other, learning some language, being taken on walks to favourite locations. Daily life in remote communities – from the limited access to fresh, affordable food to the significance of the Dreamtime stories – cannot be fully comprehended unless time is spent in community, with people of the community.”

SPOTLIGHT: LOUISE HAWKINS (she is on the right in the coat)

“The connection the NASCA team has with our students is amazing. They are such great role models for our students, and the kids love to engage with the program. The in-class support is amazing and the teachers really value the support they have from the NASCA team.”

– Louise Hawkins, Alexandria Park Community School Principal, NSW

SPOTLIGHT: NIKITA MASON

“Working with NASCA gives me the opportunity to provide our students with extra support and stability in their secondary school years. Connecting our students with our community and establishing relationships with their families strengthens our connection with students to establish and build their cultural identity. Our roles are challenging at times but extremely rewarding.”

– Nikita Mason, NASCA Program Lead
Ten years ago, Harry was at school being supported by NASCA. Fast forward to now and he is a valued member of the NASCA staff. Watch his story here.

SPOTLIGHT: HARRY MURPHY

“NASCA is deeply rooted in its commitment to the First Nations young people it serves. Our first consideration with anything and everything is, ‘How is this going to benefit our young people?’ I believe that our system of 100% Aboriginal governance as an organisation is something that leads to better outcomes, because everything we do comes from a culturally intelligent approach. We know and are part of the communities we work in, and we know how crucial our role is in supporting our young people to live a happy, active, self-determined life.”

– Harry Murphy, NASCA Program Lead

SPOTLIGHT: KYRA SUTCLIFFE

“I live by a quote: ‘Be who you needed when you were younger.’ That’s what we do in schools – we’re mentoring young people to be who they want to be, to be strong and proud.”

– Kyra Sutcliffe, NASCA Program Lead

OUR BOARD

Supportive and experienced

NASCA is 100% Aboriginal governed. Our directors are committed advocates for our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. As well as extensive experience and expertise, they bring cultural knowledge to provide the best support for our young people.

MARK HEISS is a Wiradjuri man, born and raised on Gadigal land in Sydney. Chair of the NASCA Board, he is an advocate for Indigenous young people reaching their potential and taking their place in the world. Mark worked in education for almost two decades, with a special focus on physical activity and leadership, and currently is head of scholarships at the GO Foundation. Mark volunteered at NASCA for many years before taking on his NASCA directorship.

KRISTAL KINSELA is a descendant of the Jawoyn and Wiradjuri nations. She is a non-executive director of Uniting NSW/ACT and Many Rivers and a member of Woolworths First Nations Advisory Board. Passionate about creating lasting pathways and growing Indigenous capabilities, Kristal provides Indigenous Procurement services through Kristal Kinsela Consulting. Serially awarded for her contribution to Indigenous communities, Kristal has been recognised by the Australian Financial Review as a ‘Woman of Influence’. Kristal finished her term on the NASCA board at the end of 2021.

BARBIE-LEE KIRBY is a Ngiyambaa, Wailwan, BaakindjiMaraura, Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay woman from Brewarrina, NSW. Barbie-Lee was the first Indigenous candidate to complete the Finance Graduate program at Qantas, where she became manager of Corporate Governance. Currently, she is a Responsible Business Executive at Herbert Smith Freehills. Barbie-Lee studied business, accounting and law and is passionate about First Nations economic success. Barbie-Lee was a NASCA scholarship recipient.

LACHLAN MCDANIEL who belongs to the Kilari Clan of the Wiradjuri Nation, is the Indigenous Higher Degree by Research Coordinator at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). He also is completing his PhD, researching the revitalisation of Wiradjuri cultural practices and their significance. His experience extends from political campaigning to improving Indigenous engagement in the not-for-profit and corporate business sectors. Lachlan has studied Canadian First Nations history, law, politics and Indigenous governance.

CHLOE WIGHTON is a Wiradjuri (Galari) woman from Gilgandra, NSW. Currently the Senior Cultural Impact Adviser at SBS, Chloe has worked on the campaign for constitutional reform to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and was employed in Indigenous strategy at the University of Sydney. Chloe is invested in the continuation of Wiradjuri culture, particularly the preservation of language. Chloe is a proud graduate of NASCA’s Academy Program, Dubbo region.

APPRECIATION, THANKS

To our community

Although 2021 was full of challenges, it was a year with much to celebrate. Our community of partners and supporters investing in our program development has grown significantly, allowing us to extend and deepen our reach in 2021 and optimism for the future. Our sincere thanks to our many partners, donors, volunteers and supporters who share our values and our vision.

MAJOR PARTNERS

INNER CIRCLE PARTNERS

GOVERNMENT PARTNERS

MAJOR SUPPORTERS

Accounting for Good
ADAPT
Anna Baker
Linking Integrating
National Centre of Indigenous Excellence
Price Waterhouse Indigenous Consulting
Risk Advisory Services
Rosemount Foundation
Shaw and Partners
Social Ventures Australia
Wirreanda Endowment Fund

And we thank the many donors who contribute to our annual fund, volunteer fundraising and workplace giving programs.

Most of all, we say thank you to our young people, Aunties, Uncles, community leaders and ambassadors who are our inspiration.

CULTURE EDUCATION COMMUNITY

2021 WAS A YEAR OF UNPRECEDENTED GROWTH AT NASCA. DURING THE YEAR WE EMPOWERED ABORIGINAL AND ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER YOUNG PEOPLE TO BE PROUD, STRONG AND SUCCESSFUL AT 28 PROGRAMS ACROSS NSW AND THE NT.

This is an incredible feat and has been made possible by our team working to connect and build relationships with our young people, our communities, in schools, and with the many generous supporters who contribute to achieving our vision.

Our vision: A proud, prosperous, healthy Australia, where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people thrive

In just under three years we have achieved so much of the change we set out to enact in our 10-year strategic roadmap. Our program continues to improve in quality as we tailor our programs to local community needs. In just the last year, we expanded to 10 new locations and doubled our staff.

2022 will bring a consolidation of programs, staff and infrastructure to ensure our growth is sustainable and we achieve the goals that matter most – with the young people we work with, on the ground and in communities.

IN 2022

We will appoint our first NT-based NT Program Director. This will enable significantly greater engagement with the central deserts communities we work with and will lay the groundwork for an expanded NT program in 2023.

Through ongoing program investment and collaboration with our long-term corporate partners, and recent investment by new partners, we are able to deepen our engagement with students and provide more opportunities both inside and outside of the school gate to support our young people on their chosen pathways. Our shared-value and collaborative partnerships offer creative, responsive and direct solutions to identified areas of potential.

NASCA is continuing to work towards a diversified and balanced funding base, ensuring the long-term financial stability of the organisation, and is in a position to support our ongoing growth and program development. We are committed to maintaining strong relationships with our partner organisations, donors and allies who see the social return on investment and who empower NASCA to do the culturally informed work in the community that we are uniquely positioned to do.

By investing in our people, infrastructure and governance processes, we are ensuring our responsiveness for future need and growth. In 2022 we will roll out an updated organisational database for programs and fund development, launch our new website featuring an Online Learning Hub for teachers facilitating culturally safe workshops in remote communities, and implement a new human resource management system to ensure staff development and professionalism. We recognise that we are in a phase of growth and we are dedicating resources to ensure that we are in a strong, sustainable position.

We continue to refine our outcomes measurement framework through both qualitative and quantitative research and implementation of a sophisticated database to ensure that we are achieving our program aims and objectives.

We will take inspiration from the 2022 NAIDOC theme of “Get up! Stand up! Show up!”, supporting our young people to have their voices heard, first via our NASCA Conference in Dubbo with a convergence of young people from across our programs during NAIDOC Week, and second through the development of a NASCA Youth Advisory Group to ensure that youth voices are inputting directly into our work.

Having supported 1500 young people across NSW and the NT in 2021, in 2022 we aim to work with approximately 2000 young people, expanding our NSW programs, just as we deepen our engagement in the NT.

Listen to NASCA students on the power of NASCA programs

NASCA’s footprint has grown dramatically in the last year. We now have the capacity to impact thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people’s lives positively through our work each year. Supporting student education and wellbeing through connection to culture and community, we remain true to our values and dedicated to empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to be proud, strong and successful.

FINANCIAL REPORT

With the award of $7.9 million government funding over three years, 2021 marked the beginning of significant revenue growth for NASCA. Our strong partnerships with community and with corporate and government organisations led to remarkable funding development, in turn powering our impact. Volunteers and individual donors also played key roles in our growth.

Our annual external audit confirms that we continue to manage finances successfully. We look forward to working again with our financial management and audit partners Accounting for Good and StewartBrown as we maintain the highest level of financial administration.

Incorporation and Charitable Status
● Incorporated under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander) Act 2006, INC 2546.
● Registered Charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission from 31 December 2012.

Tax Concessions and Fundraising
Public Benevolent Institution (PBI) and endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office as:
● A Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR).
● An Income Tax Exempt Charity (holding tax concessions and exemptions relating to income, goods and services and fringe benefits tax).
● Registered to fundraise under legislation in New South Wales.
● Registration number: 15744.

Publication details
Effort has been made to ensure that all information in this annual report is correct. NASCA regrets any offence that errors or omissions may cause. To ensure the safety of the young people we work with, some names have been changed. Throughout this publication, the terms Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander are used wherever possible. In the interest of readability, we also use the term ‘Indigenous’. No disrespect is intended by the authors.