Gerard, aged 39 years from Townsville, loves celebrating his Aboriginal heritage during NAIDOC Week by attending the NAIDOC March followed by the dance celebrations at the NAIDOC Deadly Day Out.
Gerard was born in Townsville and is part of the Kutjala Tribe. Each year Gerard and his family celebrate NAIDOC Week by singing and playing music while dancing in their laplaps (traditional Aboriginal clothing).
This year, Gerard has been practicing his dancing so that he can participate in the dance ceremony.
Rebekah, Open Minds Support Worker who has been working with Gerard for the past nine months said: “I’ve watched Gerard really benefit from a regular supported routine to learn crucial life skills, while also incorporating important cultural activities. It’s been great seeing him able to cook his own meals and learn to dance.”
“When it comes to supporting our clients, we are more than happy to focus our support in areas that are culturally significant”, Rebekah said.
Gerard said, “The Open Minds team have taught me how to cook, are helping me achieve my fitness goals, do indigenous craft projects with me and the best part is that they even support me to play my didgeridoo!”
Gerard and his siblings have intellectual disabilities and Open Minds has been working with the family since December 2016.
Gerard and his family love the outdoors and engaging with the community so regularly visit the Aboriginal Cultural Centre so that they stay connected to their culture.
The Open Minds team takes the family for fun day trips to Bushland Beach, Balgal Beach, Riverway, Pallaranda and Ross River Dam.
This years NAIDOC Week theme, Heal Country! calls for stronger measures to recognise, protect, and maintain all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage.
For more information about National NAIDOC Week or upcoming events, please visit https://www.naidoc.org.au/.
Or if you’re interested in finding out how the Townsville Open Minds team can support you or someone you care for, get in touch today.