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Eternity Aid was formed and grew out of four key invitations...

  • An invitation from a school principal in 2003 to help a youth in custody at Reiby School that showed great potential;
  • An invitation from a teacher at Reiby School who was alarmed by the number of youths in custody with extremely low numeracy, literacy and life skills;
  • An invitation from the Reiby Juvenile Justice Centre to help organise activities; and
  • An invitation from a male detainee of Reiby JJC to come to Bourke and see where he lived with all its challenges.  At that time, Bourke had the highest crime rate in NSW.

On reflection, these invitations were important because it was the beginning of what we have come to think of as our ‘invitational model of operation’.

When working with Aboriginal communities this model is grounded in a cultural understanding of invitation.

  1. A waiting period of no service delivery – we prioritise following Aboriginal culture, establish relationships and listen to their concerns.  During this time we make no assumptions as to what types of services may be most valuable to a particular community.
  2. Allowing the community to guide the service delivery – the community defines the support and assistance needed and invites us to deliver those services when they are ready.

Eternity Aid has been working with some of the most marginalised Aboriginal families in a very positive and constructive manner since work commenced in Bourke in 2005.  This has seen improved attendance rates at school, improved health and educational outcomes for families, and a reduction in the number of young people entering custody from the area. 

In 2017, Monash University completed a formal evaluation of Eternity Aid’s programs in Bourke specifically.  The evaluation team conducted interviews and surveys with a range of service users, stakeholders, community members (including Aboriginal Elders) and volunteers.  The evaluation found the programs:

  • Are consistent with good practice principles – the programs are strengths based, holistic and meet the needs of participants;
  • Are accepted by the wider community, linked to other services and make a positive contribution to the Bourke community;
  • Achieve their stated aims;
  • Have been consistent and stable in their support for the community over an extended period;
  • Are flexible and have evolved in response to identified community needs; and
  • Bring a broad range of skilled and highly qualified volunteer practitioners to support the community.

Find out more how you can get involved or donate to Eternity Aid’s programs.