The Big Dreams Program Update

Date: October 10, 2022

The Big Dreams Program Update

Meaning ‘Big Dreams’ in Woiwurrung language, Buldau Yioohgen is Anglicare Victoria’s First Nations Youth Leadership Academy – one of their biggest, most important programs. The Leadership Academy welcomes young people from First Nations communities into culturally immersive experiences and professional development opportunities, connecting them to organisations, potential jobs and work environments that might otherwise be difficult to access – like the prestigious Opera Australia – and helping increase the chances of gaining fulfilling, long-term employment. 

Since 2015, Lyone Foundation’s funding of over $250,000 has provided operational support to the Leadership Academy, contributing to staffing and operational costs for important activities and programs. These include ongoing ‘Heal on Country’ events, such as ‘Hike to Higher Education’ on Maria Island, Tasmania and Lake Mungo Camp, New South Wales (the latter, the site of Australia’s oldest human remains).

We have purchased a bus to transport First Nation's Youth to events across Victoria and provide accommodation at the Leadership Academy's new Cultural Centre, Darrango yan-dhan. This facility serves as a base for overnight stays after attending events, work experience placements, and activities in Melbourne. Additionally, our funding supports these initiatives.

Thanks to Lyone Foundation’s funding, other inspiring outcomes extend to 35 First Nations children and their families participating at the inaugural First Nations Day hosted at the Australian Open 2022, in Melbourne. Two of the First Nations young people selected as ball kids for the first time in the Australian Open’s history were from the Leadership Academy! Tennis Victoria plan to welcome 150 Indigenous youth to Australian Open 2023 to participate in culturally-grounded sporting opportunities; 14 ball kids from the Leadership Academy have secured work at this Grand Slam global event.

Updates on The Big Dream Program:

Community Events

  • 35 young people and their families attended the Australian Open (AO)

Ongoing Programs

  • 9 young people attended Hike for Higher Education
  • 6 young people attended Lake Mungo’s cultural immersion
  • 4 attended the Narrm Southern Experience

Career Pathways and Education Outcomes

  • 3 young people secured work, one as a First Nations Ranger with New South Wales National Parks, and two with Anglicare Victoria, working in reception and media.
  • 1 young person is attending Deakin University.
  • 2 First Nations children from Buldau Yioohgen were selected as ballkids in the Australian Open—the first in history.
  • 14 ballkids from Buldau Yiooghen have secured a place in the 2023 Australian Open.
  • 100% of young people involved in the ongoing program remain engaged in education.

Buldau Yioohgen now sits within Anglicare Victoria’s Project Development and Innovation directorate, providing the program with the specialist expertise needed to further develop and expand the program. With the cultural centre now up and running, the team at Buldau Yioohgen is in the process of fine-tuning the program design. This is necessary given the increase in the number of events operating from across the state and has implications for the cultural centre, which has shifted focus to event support rather than day programs as originally planned.

The Big Dreams Program are grateful to the Lyone Foundation for its commitment to Buldau Yioohgen and its passion for improving the lives of young First Nations people and their families across Victoria.