Hip hop to the future

ARTIST, dentist, model, builder, soccer player, traditional dancer, community worker, ambulance officer, photographer, singer, actor, teacher and soldier.

These are just some of the aspirations of local Aboriginal students who are focusing on their future as part of a community DVD initiative, funded through the Communities for Children program and written, directed and produced by local born and bred Biripi filmmaker Grant Saunders of Sonic Nomad.

The DVD will include snapshot interviews from local Aboriginal people from the Manning area who have been successful in one form or another, interwoven with a hip-hop song about what young Aboriginal children can achieve written by the children themselves.

Students from Taree High, Chatham High, Taree Public, Chatham Public, Old Bar Public and St Joseph's Primary schools are involved.

Aboriginal education officer (AEO) at Chatham Public, Kristy Hay said she has noticed the students (who include her daughter) are really passionate about it.

"They're proud. It's really promoting the positive path the kids can go down."

Brendan Croker, AEO at Taree High agrees.

"It's been good for the kids to get talking and thinking about what they want in the future and to show them the different options out there," he said.

"We've also found a couple of really good singers."

It is the first time Communities for Children has been involved in a project of this kind.

Program manager with Mission Australia Jo Burge said the initiative stemmed from the organisation's participation in the Weaving the Net workshops in Taree last year. During that workshop they viewed a DVD created by young Aboriginal people and discussed the benefits for our community of creating a local resource like this.

Jo was aware of funds available through Communities for Children. "We took it to the committee and they loved the idea."

The song the children have written is called 'What I Wanna Be' and has been created with the support of community member and Ngarralinyi radio station's Cole Perry, as well as each school's AEOs.

A couple of weeks ago the students brainstormed words to be included in the lyrics and then with the help of Cole Perry and their respective AEO, put those words into verses.

More recently they have recorded their voices for the song.

"The kids wrote what they want to be and what they'd like to be," said Cole.

The students have had a huge amount of creative input, from writing lyrics to creating their own designs for the DVD cover.

A variety of other Aboriginal community members have been involved in the DVD process, including Andrew Saunders from North Coast TAFE , who is part of the Communities for Children committee and Wayne Paulson who is involved in various ways, including bringing Aboriginal dance into the DVD.

At this stage, the interviews have been filmed and the vocals on the song recorded.

This weekend the students will film the video clip.

The DVD is set for release sometime in late April.

It is hoped that the diversity of career choices and stories will encourage and motivate young people to think of their futures and what possibilities are available to them

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