An internship in South Hedland through the McCusker Centre for Citizenship at the University of Western Australia gave Perth-based student, Henry Boulos, an insight into the rich heritage of Aboriginal culture and the complex problems that some people living in our remote communities’ face.
Henry spent his summer break completing a three week internship at the Youth Involvement Council Inc (YIC) which provides programs to young people who are considered at-risk of homelessness or in need of support in the Hedland and surrounding areas.
The McCusker Centre for Citizenship’s internship program aims to highlight to students the diverse range of issues and adversity that exist in our community by placing them at not-for-profit, government and community organisations.
Access to this unique internship opportunity was made possible through funding from BHP to travel to Port Hedland.
Henry believes this is an important experience for young people, especially for those from Perth who may not be aware of the types of problems that can impact remote and rural communities.
“I have grown up quite sheltered living in Perth.”
“So many people in Perth do not realise that life in regional towns is so much different to life in Perth.”
Henry worked on two programs run out of YIC, including ‘Mingle Mob’, a bus service that patrols the streets at night and the drop-in youth centres. Through these programs, Henry had the opportunity to meet young people and learn about Aboriginal culture from the local community.
“My internship taught me a lot about Indigenous culture through talking to and working with many Aboriginal people at the Youth Involvement Council.”
“It has also allowed me to really understand first hand, the issues that Aboriginal people in Australia face and motivated me to be much more aware of these issues.”
“The issues are highly complex and there is no easy solution, but I have realised that I can still make an impact. “
“Hanging out with some awesome kids, I was able to show them the respect and concern they deserve.”
Henry exemplifies the growing trend among young adults who are looking for ways to contribute in their community.
Passionate about working with vulnerable children, Henry was already volunteering with Teach Learn Grow and on Ignite Mentoring’s leadership team when he decided to apply to do an internship over his summer holiday.
“I am certainly going to continue to keep up all the volunteering I do in Perth, and if another opportunity similar to this arose, I would not hesitate to take it.”