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, thenNAIDOC WEEK 2019. VOICE. TREATY. TRUTH.

Let’s work together for a shared future: the theme of this year’s NAIDOC week.

Thread Together joined charity partner Girls Academy for their annual gala and with us, we brought around 200 formal dresses, shoes, bags and accessories. And for a good reason.

If you’ve ever put on a dress and felt 1 million bucks, you’ll understand the importance of fashion.

Because if you’ve ever accomplished something major in your life and celebrated the occasion with close friends, peers, family, friends, mentors, teachers; then you’d know how important it is to mark those occasions.

CELEBRATING YOUR WINS REINFORCES THE BEHAVIOUR YOU WANT TO SHOW UP WHEN YOU FACE A NEW CHALLENGE.

You may have struggled. Faced difficulties. Been disadvantaged and accomplished something against all odds.  This means that you know that celebrating these achievements are moments that you never forget.

These are the times where you feel ready to take on anything. Or at last the next challenge!

When you celebrate, endorphins are released inside your body and you feel incredible. And when you accomplish something and don’t take the time to celebrate, you are robbing yourself of an important feeling that reinforces your success. So much of what we do in our business is driven (or limited) by our psychology. Celebrating your wins not only feels great physically. It also reinforces the behaviour you want to show up when you face a new challenge or opportunity.

THE LACK OF CELEBRATION RESULTS IN DECREASED PERFORMANCE OVER TIME.

 Conversely, if you fail to celebrate your many accomplishments, you are training your brain that what you are doing isn’t all that exciting and important. So if every day feels mundane (even when you are crushing it) you will stop giving 110% of yourself. That will lead to lack lustre results. Simply put, the lack of celebration will lead to a feeling of emptiness that will result in less focus and decreased performance over time.

STUDENTS STRUGGLING TO SIMPLY MAKE IT TO CLASS.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls graduate at a rate of 27% lower than the national average. Contributing to this difference in graduation rate are: Inter-generational trauma and several obstacles like domestic violence, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, incarceration, responsibilities at home, limited resources, and more. Unfortunately it is an issue that slips under the radar. While some graduating students are worried about which gown to pick, how they will wear their hair; these seventeen and eighteen-year-olds face very different issues – they are struggling to simply make it to class.

Girls Academy, a non-profit providing support to Aboriginal girls, has made it their mission to break this cycle. They help overcome the barriers preventing Aboriginal and Torres Strait girls from realising their full potential. Girls Academy empowers girls to complete Year 12 and supports them in finding employment and furthering their education. This is accomplished through school-based programs and one-on-one mentoring, providing both educational and emotional support.

BE THE CHANGE

Thread Together joined them for a special mission at the ‘Be The change’, Indigenous Careers Expo. As part of this year’s NAIDOC Week celebrations, this event brought together Australia’s top employers and tertiary education providers. A diverse range of career, employment and study pathways to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students were promoted during the day.

The day was concluded by a gala dinner, and around 180 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students were invited to the gala. Previous years, a lot of the chairs at the tables remained empty. The reason for this was that many girls simply did not bother to go, as they did not have anything suitable to wear.

 DIFFERENT STORY

This year showed a different story. Still lots of empty chairs around, for an entirely different reason altogether. The girls all responded to their invitation. Attended the gala wearing beautiful dresses and…were having the best time celebrating and dancing with their peers on the dance floor.

If it wasn’t for our generous fashion partners, online retail giant THE ICONIC, Australian fashion accessories brand COLETTE by Colette Hayman, and corporate sponsors like TOLL, Pratt Foundation, Goodman and Commonwealth Bank, and many more private donors, the night would have painted a very different picture.

During the night, we admired and recognised so many of ‘our’ dresses, ‘our’ bags, and ‘our’ jewellery. Many of those beautifully dressed, happy, proud young women would – at worst – chosen to not to attend the celebration, or felt out of place, uncomfortable, or not quite in the mood to celebrate as much as they did that night.

YOU SAVED THE DAY

A mentor who works with many of these young women said “I want you to know that some of my girls were talking about not going to the Gala because that didn’t feel like they had anything nice to wear, until… you saved the day. This was honest feedback I got from the girls. So thank you!“

Fashion may seem like something that is superficial, something that only shows on the outside, but we say happen that night, proved to us that fashion is so much more. Something powerful, something that motivates, provides energy and can affect lasting change, well into the future that we all share together.        

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