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Aspire to be Deadly

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A young adult Indigenous woman in yellow shirt and black pants stands between five Indigenous children dressed in green shirts and black shorts. All stand on a flat green playing surface. In the background are poles, and buildings.
Lisa Fatnowna and Aspire-Cairns West team members (Photo courtesy of Aspire to be Deadly - Cairns Hockey)
11 Oct 2019

Twenty year old Lisa Fatnowna is an Ambassador and Mentor for the Aspire to be Deadly program.

Joining the program as a trainee at age 17, the Hockey Australia Under 21 National Country Hockey Team player has shared her experience and knowledge about life, with young women at Cairns West State School.

‘I want to help the local schools and the communities just by lending a hand through my sport,’ Lisa said.

‘My life has changed because now I know that I haven’t had it hard whenever I was down; these kids have it hard and they don’t have much to turn to.’

‘I want them to grow up knowing that their education, health and sports do matter and that nothing is impossible.’

Created and run by Cairns Hockey, Aspire to be Deadly was created in 2015 with support from the Indigenous Advancement Strategy. The program delivers messages and activities supporting education, wellbeing and leadership using hockey as the vehicle to drive positive social changes.

Approximately 1500 young women from the Torres Strait Islands, Cape York, Cairns and Tableland and Gulf Savannah have participated in the program. This year, there are 150 engaged with the program, this will increase in 2020.

The expansion will include more than 20 schools who will deliver the ‘LEARN WELL LIVE WELL LEAD WELL’ initiative designed to help young Indigenous women finish school and become strong individuals capable of inspiring and mentoring the next generation.

Lisa’s traineeship with Cairns Hockey ended with her completion of a Certificate 3 in Sport and Recreation this year. The accredited mentor has lots of advice for the young women in her care.

‘There are so many places around Cairns that are willing to help you improve on your life skills,’ Lisa said.

‘I would love to see these girls take every opportunity they get to represent not only their school, their city but their culture.’

With the expansion of the program, it is anticipated that an additional 500 young women will benefit from it but of course, it’s not just the young women who are affected by programs like these.

‘It has changed me emotionally and mentally because my childhood was completely different from theirs,’ Lisa said.

‘I never had a mentor that helped me through my school and sporting – my parents were my number one supporter but it makes me feel good about myself that I get to give these girls the opportunity to have someone to help them.’

‘I absolutely love being a mentor to these girls. It’s honestly a privilege coaching, teaching and bonding with them.’

Find out more

Aspire to be Deadly is supported by Hockey Australia and the National Indigenous Australians Agency’s $2 million funding which will support the expansion of the program to five locations across northern Queensland: Western Cape York, South Cape York, Cairns and Gulf regions and the Torres Strait.

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