At the recent Western Australian HASS teachers conference, My Future My Voice, Millennium Kids were lucky enough to be able to deliver the keynote speech on the Saturday of the program. We followed an excellent Welcome to Country from a HASS teacher Dylan Collard.

Catrina Aniere, CEO and former teacher, led the keynote speech. She spoke about her experience in a classroom and different strategies used to engage children with the curriculum. She described taking children out on country to learn about the land in Port Hedland and taking children down to the river in South Perth.

Cat went on to tell the story of the beginnings of Millennium Kids. Some of Cats’ students were selected to attend a UN youth conference and when they got back to Australia they decided that they wanted to run their own conference – a conference run for kids by kids. It was the first conference of its kind and was the beginning of Kids Helping Kids, a group that later developed into Millennium Kids.

Some of the Millennium Kids  talked about their projects. Ebonie spoke about her fundraiser disco for Kids on Country. It’s going to be a super fun event in October to raise money for a fantastic cause – taking indigenous children out on country their local elders to build life skills and care for their land.

Patrick spoke about his project where he is painting native birds. He intends to create a poster or a calendar to inform people about the value of planting native species in your own garden and how it can be used to attract and retain native birds.

Charles spoke about his revegetation project on an area near his house. He described some of the most interesting plants that he had found and the processes that he was taking to care for his patch such as manually weeding the area.

Ebonie, Patrick and Charles all described the processes that they went through to pitch their project, acquire funding and the work that they have done on their project until now.

I had the opportunity to speak about my project – Youth Challenges on the Environment 2019I have compiled a document of issues that Millennium Kids have identified and suggestions that they have come up with. I’ve presented the ideas in the form of draft policies, and presented them to Stephen Dawson, our environment minister at the Millennium Kids website launch this year. I was motivated by the sheer volume of ideas created in the workshops with Millennium Kids. Each project undertaken by a young person focuses on one or two issues so I wanted to make sure that youth voices were heard regarding all the issues that they care about.

It was humbling to be asked to speak about our projects at a teacher’s conference. The way that Millennium Kids operates is different to conventional classroom. Kids make the decisions, we choose what to learn and explore and what projects to work on. Cathy, one of our Council members, explained the role that mentors have within Millennium Kids. This gave the audience a sense of how our organisation operates. She described the artist that has helped Patrick develop his artwork, the lawyer that helped to edit my policies and how she herself had mentored children that wanted to do projects on turtles.

We got a great response from the conference and had many people approach us at the market afterwards to ask questions about our projects and our workshops, buy our merchandise and offer their help as mentors. We look forward to working with the HASS community in our endeavours!

 

Written by MK Rachel

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