Improving IDRS Reach, Connection and Service to First Nations People
At IDRS we are very proud and honoured to support so many First Nations people. Each year we are able to connect with more communities and develop trust for our service amongst the communities.
First Nation Clients
Aboriginal Engagement Worker:
My name is Dean McLaren
I am a proud Gamilaraay man, my family are from Burra Bee Dee near Coonabarabran, from the Cain and Leslie families.
For over 6 years I have been working intensively with Aboriginal families
This year IDRS introduced a new role to our organisation an Aboriginal Engagement Worker. My position works across all IDRS services to ensure the service that we deliver is always culturally appropriate.
My day to day work includes:
- Supporting staff with Aboriginal engagement with clients and community
- Liaising with Aboriginal support services to create appropriate referral pathways
- Facilitate cultural education to all staff and volunteers
- Consult with staff and clients to identify cultural barriers and finding solutions to embrace the cultural differences
- Provide advice and support to staff in their work with Aboriginal clients
- Providing cultural supervision and support for Aboriginal staff and volunteers
- Raising awareness of IDRS support services with Aboriginal organisations and communities
- Listening and learning how we can come together to best support people in need of our service
GURUMBALA GABANMALA (Connect and Heal)
GURUMBALA GABANMALA is a piece of art that was commissioned by IDRS in 2020 by Miss Donna Gayford McLaren. This piece tells the story of an Aboriginal person’s journey towards healing through support provided by IDRS and through connection with support services and community.
GURUMBALA GABANMALA plays features in all IDRS First Nations promotional material and is on display in our head office in Pitt St Sydney.
This year, Dean McLaren, our Aboriginal Engagement Worker, travelled to regional communities of New South Wales. Dean connected with community in Dubbo, Bourke, Brewarrina, Moree, Tamworth, Newcastle, Central Coast and the Hunter; just to name a few. During his travels Dean engaged with community to promote IDRS services, develop new connections with local support services and provide in person support to our JAS advocates and volunteers. This trip helped staff with strengthening existing relationships with Aboriginal community and services, and established new ones.
On these visits Dean gathered with Aboriginal community to yarn and listen to their ideas on how we can work alongside one another to best support the people in need of IDRS services in that community.
A very important part of Dean’s connecting is to visit significant cultural sights with the permission of, and led by local elders. Dean spends his time listening to the stories of the land and the people, as well as the struggles of the community that we walk alongside, both past and present.
Culturally appropriate training & education
Our Aboriginal Engagement worker and JAS education team have developed a volunteer training package “Community Volunteer Training” specifically for Aboriginal volunteers. Our team collaborated closely with members from the Yamba Aboriginal community that have vast experience in the legal, medical, mental health and community support services. The development of this training package has inspired changes to all IDRS training and education programs.
Our goal in the next year is to grow the number of Aboriginal staff and volunteers working across IDRS services.
To find out more visit www.13yarn.org.au