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Grace supports early years initiatives in regional WA communities

24 January, 2022

Through a recent internship at the McCusker Centre for Citizenship, UWA student Grace Ting travelled to the Kimberly to engage with remote communities, using her media and communications skills to support programs that advocate for early childhood development in regional WA.

Grace, who is studying Communications and Media Studies with a second major in Japanese Studies, completed the internship at Minderoo Foundation, where she designed promotional materials and a program guide to support Minderoo’s Early Years Initiative (EYI).

The EYI is a partnership between the State Government and the Minderoo Foundation, working with communities to improve the development and health and of children in the first four years of their lives, to help set them up for successful lives.

“The EYI involves many changing and moving parts and understanding these was crucial to my internship task of developing a prospectus,” said Grace.

Grace’s internship saw her travel to some of the remote communities that the EYI partners with, an experience that was “equal parts challenging and rewarding”, leading to immense personal and professional growth.

“Being given the opportunity to travel regionally to Broome, and then to the more remote communities of Derby and Bidyadanga, where I was able to meet amazing Aboriginal leaders and experience the community and its needs firsthand was a highlight of the internship,” said Grace.

“Hearing from the communities how much they prioritised early childhood development, and needed support for it, opened my eyes,” she said.

“The disadvantages of living remotely, and the distinct and diverse priorities of each community, differ from one another and require specific attention,” said Grace.

Internship supervisor and Minderoo Policy and Portfolio Manager Juan Larranaga said “Grace has taken a deep dive in the complexity of multi-disciplinary collaboration and how this impacts how we communicate to get the best outcomes for the community. Her excellent work on the communication prospectus has really given the Early Years project a strong platform to build from.”

Grace hopes her work will help share the valuable work being done by the EYI and says she will carry the learnings from her internship into her future work in communications and media.

“I think developing a more comprehensive world view and understanding of parts of society I was not originally a part of or have never experienced has been extremely valuable,” said Grace.