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Strengthening emotional literacy and resilience in Aboriginal teenage girls through the Seven Sisters Program

Published: November 29, 2022 5:17pm

Broome PCYC partnered with Shooting Stars to help girls understand and express their feelings and build a positive sense of self.

Broome PCYC partnered with Shooting Stars last month to launch the pilot program, Seven Sisters, a mental health and wellbeing program, which is currently run across 20 sites in Western and South Australia.

Nine girls aged 13 to 16, within the local Broome community attended four weekly sessions, with the aim of increasing their emotional literacy and ability to regulate their emotions. After the third session, one girl voiced, “What a lovely place to feel safe,” to describe how relaxing and peaceful she found the program.

Seven Sisters was developed as a culturally appropriate way to address mental health and resilience amongst the participants. It was through the regular yarning circles that Shooting Stars hold with their participants that the barriers of emotional regulation, bullying and negative relationships were identified.

Sierra-Lee’s favourite parts of the Broome Seven Sisters program were the meditation and the yarning circles. “It helps me because there’s always someone there to listen. And it helps me to relax and stay calm,” she said.

Seven Sisters Coordinator, Jade McGuire, is proud of how far the program has come in the two years it’s been running. “From the first pilot in Narrogin in 2020 to rolling out the program across all our sites in 2022, we have seen a significant change among the young girls that participate in the Seven Sisters program and their emotional and social well-being. This ranges from increased school attendance, increased emotional literacy and understanding as well as seeing a decline in disruptive or negative behaviour. Enabling girls in the wider community will hopefully see the same results and provide girls with positive sense of self and wellbeing.”

It helps me because there’s always someone there to listen.
— Sierra-Lee, Seven Sisters participant