3M has formed a new partnership with grassroots organisation Red Dust to support healthy lifestyles of Aboriginal youth living in remote Northern Territory communities.
A $70,000 grant from 3M is supporting Red Dust’s Healthy Living Program, a high impact school-based health and wellbeing program facilitated by role models from community, sport, music and art with a focus on nutrition, physical activity, resilience and cultural strength.
While the program is normally delivered to remote Northern Territory communities by teams of educators and role models, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the suspension of community visits. Instead, Red Dust is using 3M’s grant to produce high-quality video content on wellbeing and healthy lifestyle topics, which is distributed to schools via its online channel, Red Dust TV.
A pilot episode focused on fun fitness drills, featuring past and present AFL and AFLW players including Ally Anderson, Jamie Macmillan and twins Jess and Sarah Hosking, was sent to seven communities earlier in 2020. The episode received excellent feedback from the more than 120 students who accessed it.
The success of this episode led to the development of three further episodes following consultation with community members around what topics they would find most useful. The episodes are focused on mental wellbeing and resilience, including the themes of goal setting, teamwork, failure, growth, self-belief and focus. Other topics under consideration for further episodes include nutrition and bush tucker.
The program aligns with 3M’s mission to improve lives through innovation and action. Red Dust CEO Scott Stirling said 3M’s contribution was helping to encourage youth in remote Aboriginal communities to build resilience, connections to identity, cross-cultural competency and aspiration.
“3M’s partnership with Red Dust demonstrates good corporate leadership by translating intent into action when it comes to establishing long-term relationships that support remote Aboriginal communities and their vision for a stronger future,” Scott said.
The partnership between 3M and Red Dust also includes the participation of eight team members from 3M Australia’s Health Care Business Group in an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples cultural immersion program. The six-part online course relates the stories of people connected to Red Dust on topics including current and historical issues facing Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Peoples, how to create connections of value with people from other cultural backgrounds and identifying personal actions that support reconciliation.
Josh Burrows, a Sydney-based 3M Health Care team member, says his participation in the Red Dust cultural immersion program has been a timely catalyst to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.
“I thought I knew enough about our history, but I didn’t of course. Now I spend my spare time researching pre-colonial and colonised Australia and I am starting to see more of our nation through the eyes of our first people,” Josh said.
Red Dust CEO Scott Stirling said the cultural immersion program provided a valuable channel to allow all Australians to develop a better understanding of Australian and Aboriginal history and the issues confronting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
“Over the last few years, we’ve been excited to explore new opportunities to engage in meaningful cultural conversations with partners like 3M and their employees. Through two-way exchange we learn more about each other and gain a better sense of how we can all contribute to reconciliation,” Scott said.
3M and Red Dust’s partnership is in line with the goals 3M Australia has set as part of its Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), a commitment to further its journey of reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, building upon the foundations laid in our Reflect RAP. These goals include providing our employees with cultural learning opportunities to increase understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and achievements and fostering a better understanding of the significance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural protocols, such as Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country.