Big Bro Lil’ Bro mentors make an impact


A group of U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy personnel visited Humpty Doo Primary School recently to join the school’s mentoring initiative for Indigenous students.

The Big Bro Lil’ Bro program — designed for years 5 and 6 students — aims to boost attendance and classroom participation, improve engagement with the school community, and strengthen students’ identification with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

The school’s Aboriginal Islander Education Worker Melissa Tipo, who runs the program, said the members of the U.S. Marine Rotational Forces worked with the nine students to make and paint didgeridoos and boomerangs.

“The students have also been learning to play the didgeridoos and throw boomerangs, and the feedback on the program has been positive,” she said.

“The 30 per cent attendance rate of one participant has risen to 80 per cent, and students have asked to continue working on their didgeridoos and boomerangs during their recess and lunchtimes.

“The defence force volunteers visit each fortnight, committing an hour as Big Bro Lil’ Bro mentors, and the students look forward to their arrival.”

Ms Tipo said she is passionate about teaching students to be proud of Aboriginal culture, heritage, identity and wellbeing.

“While teaching the students about the boomerang I taught them about David Unaipon — the Aboriginal writer, scientist, inventor and Aboriginal rights activist — who used the flight edges of the boomerang to design the helicopter blade,” she said.

Big Bro Lil’ Bro mentors make an impact

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