Johnathan Thurston jumps into action to ensure Indigenous kids in remote communities stay connected during Coronavirus

Blog Image

Johnathan Thurston’s Academy, NBN Co and Skytrans have pulled off the impossible to ensure Indigenous children in remote communities are not left socially isolated during school closures due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

With the Coronavirus continuing to spread, Thurston feared that the remote communities who take part in the academy’s JTBelieve programs, funded by the Australian Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy, would become more isolated and it would have long term impact on the mental well-being of the wider communities.

Last week, Thurston called NBN Co to ask for their help and they jumped at the chance to assist. In under 48 hours, all parties had coordinated the installation of systems into Kowanyama and Yarrabah, with Thursday Island not far behind,  so Thurston and the academy could beam personal daily messages, school lessons and other information directly into the communities.

Thurston will be chatting with the kids over his own NBN connection from his Townsville home. Skytrans has generously transported the necessary equipment into the communities to establish the vital link.

JTAcademy has been running these programs, in conjunction with the local communities, for more than two years, with outstanding results including 91% school attendance in some cases.

But Thurston said he was very worried a lot of that good work would quickly come undone if local schools were closed due to the Coronavirus.

“I am so grateful to NBN Co and Skytrans for moving heaven and earth to help us make this happen,” Thurston said. “Without them this would have not happened and the fact they both jumped at the chance to ensure these kids were looked after says so much about their focus and commitment to the regional communities of Australia.

“As a result of our programs, which work hand-in-hand with the local elders and Council bodies, the kids in these communities are fully engaged, more confident, taking part in more extra-curricular activities, but I am worried that this will suffer during any school closures.

“The impact of that on the kids could be quite devastating. These communities already feel a sense of isolation and I am concerned how quickly this could escalate to wider community health and well-being concerns.

“I fear for our kids if they become cut off from society and I want to ensure they don’t feel abandoned. We have JTAcademy team members on the ground in each community, working hard to keep our participants calm and positively engaged and I have instructed my academy team to do whatever it takes to ensure we have a good connection with each community,” he said.

NBN Co’s Head of Regional and Remote Gavin Williams said they were very happy they could assist and work with the academy to facilitate the installation of the satellites to ensure the kids can stay connected during this period.

“We are proud to have been able to facilitate this,” Mr Williams said.

“Ensuring the kids can stay connected and that their engagement with the academy remains is incredibly important.  The work the academy is doing in these remote locations is incredible and it was important to us that we could play a small part in supporting them and ensuring it’s not interrupted during this time.”

The Academy has also worked with each community to set up temporary locations, such as the Council Chambers and library so the kids can meet (on a roster) in small groups to view and partake in the material transmitted by the academy through the newly installed satellites.

SkyTrans Chairman Peter Collings said the company jumped at the chance to provide support in transporting the supplies and the team who provided the installation.

“It was touch and go there for a while if we could get into the communities before the lockdown but the work the Academy did in facilitating all key players on short notice was amazing,” Mr Collins said.

“We are very proud to have played a part in this project and give back to our regional communities.”

Since 2018, Thurston has focused on making a difference in the lives of young Indigenous people by improving their access to employment and educational opportunities through the JTAcademy.

 

For more information please call Sarah Morgan on 0421 664 969.

JTBelieve Every Day Counts – Term 3 Winners

Education Term 3 Winners

We are excited to announce the second cohort of winning classes as part of the JTBelieve Every day counts pilot delivered in partnership with the Department of Education.

Each participating school recognised one class for their Term 3 attendance performance. Every student from the winning classes will receive a JTBelieve Award letter, as well as a Certificate, personally signed by Johnathan Thurston.

A special mention to Class 8F from Spinifex State College who was the overall winner from the participating schools. Each student from their winning class will also receive a JT Academy pack consisting of a bag, cap, water bottle, postcard and notepad.

“I would like to again congratulate all the students, parents, carers and teachers from the winning classes for their ongoing commitment to their education,” Johnathan said.

“A special shout out to Spinifex State College who lead the way for the participating schools”

“I would like to thank the Department of Education and all the participating schools for supporting the initiative this year”

The winning classes were:

School Class
Spinifex State College Class 8F
Bloomfield River State School Class 4/5/6
Burketown State School Class P2
Charleville State School Class Prep S
Sunset State School Class 2K
Hopevale Campus of CYAAA Class DI3
Thuringowa State High School Class 9B
St. George State School Class 3/4B
Townview State School Class 6A

 

Note – The JTBelieve Every day counts pilot is about supporting and encouraging students to believe in themselves and turn up – every day. The Every day counts campaign comprises animations and comic books. Have a look for JT himself, featured in The new adventures of Jimmy and Sam the Dog animation and comic book.

Coomera State School Students inspired by JTAcademy visit

KLN Coomera workshop Blog

The JT Academy was recently invited to hold four JTBelieve workshops for Year 5 and 6 students at Coomera State School, supported by key partner KLN Group.

KLN Group, which specialises in providing electrical and technological solutions to the construction and services sector, has been a partner since the Academy’s launch in 2018 and is a huge supporter of its work.

Managing Director Brett Nicholson said the company was committed to building courage, confidence and self-belief in primary school children.

“It was great for our company to sponsor the JT Academy’s visit to Coomera State School and talk to the students about building self-belief and self-confidence,” Mr Nicholson said.

“I am very proud to know that we share the values and objectives of the JTAcademy to foster young people, like the students at Coomera State School, in the ways they need support.

JTBelieve is designed to engage students and their families in education. Participants are mentored and the workshops are facilitated by ambassadors who have been identified and invited by Johnathan Thurston.

The JT Academy Ambassadors act as role models and mentors to support and encourage the participants and their families to build their aspirations and achieve their goals.

The program delivers in-school mentoring and support from the JT Academy; regular presentations on self-belief, confidence and courage.

It is these partnerships with those providing the work and on-the-job training, which have proven such a success in what the JTAcademy is striving to achieve.

A spokesperson from Coomera State School said the workshops had engaged and inspired the young students.

“The information and messages provided were quite appropriate for the age group,” the spokesperson said.

“It was a worthwhile activity and we thank the JT Academy and KLN Group for providing this opportunity for our students.”

 

JTAcademy is helping to make every day count at school

JT With Students

The Johnathan Thurston Academy is very excited to be part of a pilot school attendance initiative in partnership with the Department of Education.

The JTBelieve Every day counts pilot is about supporting and encouraging students to believe in themselves and turn up – every day. The Every day counts campaign comprises animations and comic books. Have a look for JT himself, featured in The new adventures of Jimmy and Sam the Dog animation and comic book.

Twenty-two schools in Queensland have been invited to participate in this pilot.

As we know, there is an inextricable link between school attendance and success at school – and in later life. Turning up to school every day takes a team effort.

For this reason, the JTBelieve Every day counts pilot is implemented at a class level – rewarding the class in each school with the highest or most improved attendance rate over the term. This classroom-based approach fosters a supportive, encouraging environment among the students and school community. It also builds school-wide awareness of the importance of school attendance and creates a healthy sense of competition.

“When I played footy it was my teammates, coaches, family and friends who all contributed to the success of our games,” Johnathan said.

“School attendance is like that – it takes a team effort: students, teachers, family, friends and the principal. That’s why the initiative is designed around a ‘team concept’,” he said.

Only one class can win from each school with the Principal responsible for nominating one class from their school that they feel has best demonstrated the consistently highest attendance or most improved school attendance over Term 3.

Every student from the 20 winning classes will receive a JTBelieve Award letter, as well as a Certificate, personally signed by Johnathan Thurston. Two overall winners across the 20 classes will receive a special pack with Johnathan Thurston Academy branded materials.

Johnathan Thurston lifts spirits in Balonne

IMG_3329Edited-e1567157887896

Australian football legend Johnathan Thurston joined forces with Balonne Shire Council to celebrate the region’s youth and community during a three-day extravaganza on August 26, 27 and 28, 2019.

JT and his team from the JTAcademy delivered workshops to primary and high school students from the local and surrounding areas designed to build self-esteem, confidence and believe in themselves.

Students took part in the academy’s JTSucceed and JTBelieve programs, both designed to encourage students to stay at school, value an education and believe they can be successful in a career of their choosing with the right support.

JT also played footy with local children, took part in a Fundraising Dinner and a farm tour and provided some motivational thoughts to employees from Balonne Shire Council.

Balonne Shire Council Deputy Mayor, Cr Fiona Gaske said JT’s visit lifted the whole community, particularly given the recent difficulties the region has experienced through the drought.

“JT being in our community was a gift because he spoke to people of all ages and from all walks of life. His appeal was universal and his message so timely for us. It was a privilege to collaborate with the JTAcademy in an event that I know transformed lives,” she said.

“The work of the JTAcademy is renowned for helping youth and our younger residents really enjoyed the workshops.”

JT Academy’s Managing Director Johnathan Thurston said he was thrilled to see so many people from the region take part in activities during his visit, with numbers far exceeding those predicted.

“Our programs have been designed to encourage kids to believe they can have a bright future, regardless of their circumstances today,” Thurston said.

“The program, in partnership with the Balonne Shire Council, focused on a number of key youth issues and worked in conjunction with the wider community.

“It was great to get out and meet with as many residents from the area as possible who I know have been doing it tough of late.

“I would like to particularly thank Balonne Shire Council, the Primary Health Network and the South West Hospital and Health Service for their support of this visit.” 

For more information please call Sarah Morgan (JT Academy) on 0421 664 969 or Julie Davies Balonne Shire Council on 0476 660 047.

 

Johnathan Thurston to join Balonne’s youth extravaganza

Balonne Blog Logos

Australian football legend Johnathan Thurston has partnered with Balonne Shire Council to celebrate the region’s youth and community with a three-day extravaganza on August 26, 27 and 28, 2019.

JT and his team from the JTAcademy will deliver workshops to primary and high school students from the local and surrounding areas designed to build self-esteem, confidence and believe in themselves.

Students will undertake the academy’s JTSucceed and JTBelieve programs, both designed to encourage students to stay at school, value an education and believe they can be successful in a career of their choosing with the right support.

JT Academy’s Managing Director Johnathan Thurston said he was really excited to bring the academy to the area.

“We are really looking forward to visiting the community and talking directly with the kids as part of these exciting programs,” Thurston said.

“The program, in partnership with the Balonne Shire Council, works on a number of key youth issues and works in conjunction with the wider community.

“I’m also looking forward to getting out and meeting with as many residents of the area, who I know have been doing it tough of late.”

There will be a meet and greet with Thurston between 4.30pm and 6.30pm at Rowden Park, school workshops, a fundraising dinner and motivational sessions.

Balonne Shire Mayor, Richard Marsh, said the region was buzzing with the news that JT was coming to town.

“In these hard times of drought, a visit by someone such as JT is just what is needed to lift the spirits in our community,” he said.

“The work of the JTAcademy is renowned for helping youth and I’m sure our younger residents will really enjoy the workshops.

“I would like to thank JT, the JTAcademy, Primary Health Network, Regional Development Australia and the South West Hospital and Health Service for their support of this visit.”

For more information please call Sarah Morgan (JT Academy) on 0421 664 969 or Julie Davies Balonne Shire Council on 0476 660 047

Johnathan Thurston runs workshops at Mount Isa schools and takes part in Isa Street Festival

MtIsa Edited

As part of the Isa Street Festival, Mount Isa City Council partnered with the Johnathan Thurston Academy to deliver workshops to hundreds of local students and Indigenous leaders at two local high schools, August 6 and 7, as part of a celebration of local youth.

Australian footy legend Johnathan Thurston visited Mount Isa with staff from the JTAcademy as they deliver the JTSucceed workshop over two days at Spinifex High School and Good Shepherd High School.

The JTSucceed workshop helped to build confidence, courage, self-belief, well-being and good mental health, with cyber bullying a focus for this workshop.

The JTAcademy was founded in 2018 to help Australian youth have access to education and training to help them secure meaningful employment, and this starts with building their self-confidence, self-believe and motivation.

JT Academy’s Managing Director Johnathan Thurston said he was really thrilled about how the visit went.

“I was really excited to bring the JT Academy and our JTSucceed workshop to Mount Isa and be part of the local festivities in partnership with Mount Isa City Council,” Thurston said. “We had been really looking forward to the visit and it was great to be so warmly welcomed by the Mt Isa community and be able to talk directly with the kids about issues which impact them.”

Mount Isa City Council Mayor Joyce McCulloch said valuable lessons were shared by the JT Academy to 160 students at Spinifex Junior campus, including 20 Indigenous leaders, 118 Year 8 and Year 9 students at Good Shepherd Catholic College and 25 Flexible Learning Centre students.

“It is more important in a remote city such as Mount Isa that we talk about these issues so we can increase awareness of appropriate actions that this community can take and the support available, particularly for parents.”

JT also personally presented a signed Maroons jersey to the winner of a Facebook competition run by Mt Isa City Council.

“We are headed to Balonne in late August to deliver programs to students there at the invitation of Balonne Shire Council,” Thurston added.

“And I can’t wait!”

 

Read the full article here: http://bit.ly/2KwnyLoMtIsa

If you are interested in having the JTAcademy deliver tailored programs to your school, community or staff, register your interest at the Academy here: https://www.jtacademy.com.au/jt-community/

 

 

Kids from remote Yarrabah and Kowanyama communities join the JTBelieve camp

JT Academy Cairns

Education Today ran a story in July about a group of students from Yarrabah and Kowanyama who successfully applied to attend the JTBelieve camp in Cairns with Johnathan Thurston.

The 20 students were chosen from those who successfully completed the JTBelieve program during the school semester, which meant have a great attendance at school and being respectful of the community both in and outside of school.

“The JTBelieve program was designed to help kids improve their self-belief, confidence and courage in their future abilities and opportunities,” Thurston said in the story.

“We believe that by providing programs which help build up the self-belief, confidence, courage and skillsets of youth, they are being given the chance to make decisions about their future based on what they want and what they believe they can achieve.”

 To read the full story click here.

JT hopes the JTBelieve camp and program will be life-changing for students

JT Academy Cairns

In early July, Johnathan Thurston travelled to Cairns to meet school students from Yarrabah and Kowanyama, who had successfully completed the JTBelieve program.

Thurston and some of the students spoke with journalist Peter Carruthers about the program in a story that ran in the Cairns Post and Courier Mail on July 3, 2019.

“The JTBelieve program was designed to help kids improve their self-belief, confidence and courage in their future abilities and opportunities,” Thurston said.“The JTBelieve program includes what is essentially a set of values and tools to develop these skills.”

Kowanyama’s Hamish Gilbert, 11, told Carruthers: “We have been learning to introduce ourselves to other people to get more confidence as we grow up”.

To read the full story click here.