Will Gee, Youth Worker Mentor, Ramingining
I am currently based in an amazing community in Arnhem Land, working for the East Arnhem Regional Council. The land, the people, and the culture are inspiring and beautiful.
My role in Ramingining has evolved over time to suit the needs and priorities of the community. Domestic and family violence is an issue that I am passionate about, and prioritize as the message delivered through my work. My approach is to change the mindset of the immediate community and trust that the development and education in my present environment will extend to our surrounding neighbours.
The number of campaigns in Australia to confront this issue is growing, and therefore the subsequent awareness is also growing. However, I believe that the significance and urgency of the message still needs to be felt.
As many Australians do, I have a personal connection to this topic. I have seen relationships crumble and wither. I have seen the spirit fade in some of the most incredible people. I have watched them become a distant memory and an empty shell of who they once were. Violent disputes in domestic relationships cause fractures in the essence of our mental and spiritual strength. Once these integral pillars begin to break down, and fear becomes present, the sanctity of our home is destroyed.
I firmly believe that the best approach is through increasing personal health and wellbeing. I believe that improved inner health is essential and transferrable to a happy life at home. I have found sport and recreation to be a fantastic and simple tool for this.
My most successful initiative designed from this strategy, is the community football program.
This program has provided us with the highest, continuous engagement for males and females, in the history of our community. We use the No More message to coincide, which has given the community a platform for further discussion and education. Guernseys, signage, Council shirts, kid’s uniforms and equipment, all have the No More badge attached. It is recognisable from afar, and everybody knows its meaning and purpose.
Without polarizing gender blame, we address it as a whole community. We work together to protect the impact on children and provide support and hope for victims.
The most common error in community, is the lapse in direction once a change of personnel in organisation occurs. The key to ongoing discussion and further education is to develop a strategy and message that can co-exist with the initiative. This way the program and message exist, hand in hand.
Through the East Arnhem Regional Council Football program, there is vital input from other agencies and stakeholders, including collaboration from community members and elders.
For generations to come, the most successful program in the history of the community, will now be linked solidly to the No More domestic and family violence message.