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Danika Nayna from Newslines Radio, a weekly program produced by the Australian Government on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues, recently visited the Joe Cooper Centre in Perth.
The Joe Cooper Centre is a place where Indigenous boys aged 13-18 years meet from Monday to Thursday each week to take part in the Halo day program. The Centre has training rooms, an indoor basketball court, a boxing ring, a gym, as well as a Noongar artist-in-residence program - facilities that these boys are able to use.
The Noongar boys have all been in trouble in the past with school, the law, or at home. Western Australia has the highest incarceration rate of young Aboriginal people in Australia, with 8 out of 10 juveniles who leave detention returning. The Halo day program aims to inspire and support young people to give up and stay off drugs, reduce recidivism, and transition into further employment and education.
Halo helps the boys make goals to work towards and to find friends to work with. It's a much more attractive future than going back to detention. Through the program, the boys are changing their own attitudes and encouraging their peers to make changes as well, allowing them to become students, team members and leaders.
The full interview transcript and podcast, presented by Nathan Ramsay, can be found online at Newslines Radio, or can be heard over the radio, broadcasting from 30 April-6 May 2012.
Source: Newslines Radio