KARI Foundation celebrates NAIDOC Week

KARI Foundation celebrated NAIDOC week with a Corporate lunch held at NSW Parliament House. With over 160 guests in attendance, it was an exceptional lunch showcasing the excellence of Indigenous women at KARI.

KARI would like to thank our Silver sponsor for the NAIDOC Event, Black Duck Procurement. Sponsoring the event was a sign of their commitment to strengthening our partnership and we look forward to working with them in the future.

As this year’s NAIDOC theme is ‘Because of her, we can’, there was a spotlight on the robust women of KARI who are the foundation to our success. There was a special performance from our Vocal Identification Program welcoming guests to their island home, which captured the audience.

The Vocal Identification Program operates in partnership with the NSW Department of Education. VIP aims to seek out young Aboriginal singers from the local South West Sydney area and provide them with unique opportunities to develop their performance skills.

KARI CEO Casey Ralph was the MC for the event and asked both panels engaging and meaningful questions.

The first panel consisted of:

  • Cheryl Ralph, co-founder of KARI
  • Ann Martin, who is on the KARI Board of Directors
  • Karen Scott, a foster carer at KARI for over 16 years

Anna Martin, KARI Board member and outgoing NAIDOC Co-Chair, talked about how this year’s theme came into etherisation and explained the impact that the theme has had on the larger community.

Karen Scott’s achievement in working in foster care for over 16 years was especially engaging as she highlighted the importance of keeping Indigenous children connected to their culture.

The second panel consisted of:

  • Lauren Drayton, Community Programs Manager at KARI
  • Stephanie Ruston, Clinical Coordinator at KARI
  • Patricia Jenkings, United Nations Association of Australia Vice Chair
  • Donna Anderson, Aboriginal Family and Geneology Coordinator

This panel highlighted the women of KARI who spearhead vital programs throughout the organisation.

Lauren Drayton spoke fondly of her community programs and shared some touching stories from her Debutante Ball program that has been running for seven years.

Stephanie Ruston has been at KARI since 2011 and is KARI’s leading speech pathologist. She has done groundbreaking work in providing insight as to how the Aboriginal population is impacted by speech impediments.

Patricia Jenkings also provided insight into the holistic approach that is provided for Indigenous youth throughout Australia. She also elaborated on the United Nation’s goals for Indigenous youth and how the UN Australia chapter wants to promote a healthy and positive mental and physical wellbeing.

Donna Anderson highlighted the importance of the Geneology department at KARI. The Geneology team works hard to ensure that every child in care ensures that they know who they are and has an attachment to their identity.

The event ended after the second panel and guests left in high spirits. It was a lovely event that educated and entertained guests through the panels and the VIP singers. We’d like to thank everyone who attended.

KARI Foundation would like to thank Black Duck Procurement and the United Nations Association of Australia in their participation in this event.