by Jessica Schremmer
CREATING healthy and positive long-term relationships is the motivation behind the weekly Brekky Club program offered to young indigenous students at Chinchilla State School.
The initiative is a collaborative program organised by Queensland Police Service, Police Citizens Youth Club Dalby and Beyond the Broncos mentoring program.
Beyond the Broncos mentoring program student support officer Robyn Jennings said the initiative came about after a meeting with new Chinchilla police sergeant Andrew Irvine to discuss strategies to build positive rapport with indigenous students from a young age.
"We were asked about the best way to engage indigenous children positively,” Ms Jennings said. "It was basically to enhance that relationship that the kids have with the Queensland Police Service and to give them something positive to do.”
The Brekky Club is run by Dalby police liaison officer Jenny Thomas, Dalby PCYC indigenous sport recreation officer Shaye Easton, Beyond the Broncos' Robyn Jennings and with the support of Chinchilla police.
Ms Jennings said the club had a high participation rate for the term, with 20-25 children attending every Thursday morning.
"We have six indigenous girls from Chinchilla High School that are mentors and help out with the program, which is brilliant,” she said.
"The have undertaken the Blue Line Program with Jenny over this term to become mentors for the community.”
Ms Jennings said they usually picked up the children and brought them to school, then played games together and had breakfast before school started.
"It is to give them something positive to do and create strong relationships,” she said.
"We have full support of the parents - they have been really great and supportive.
"We are taking a positive stand for our community. Continuity is the key.”
Ms Jennings said her connection to the program was very deep as she was indigenous herself and had known many of the students for a long time.
"In the light of everything that has been happening in our community we tend to skip over the good stuff, and to us it's important to develop good, strong relationships with our indigenous community.
"We want people to look at it that this is proactive and not reactive.
"I want to encourage other people to get involved with it too, like local businesses, because this is something we can do long term.
"It is a commitment to ensure that the whole town works together.”
Ms Jennings said she would like to thank Drakes store manager Marnie Ringe in Chinchilla for all her help and support, as she donated the food supplies each week.