On July 26th Shaun Childs joined the Reconciliation SA Anti-Racism Program Officer, shortly after he was thrown into the deep end of program delivery.
A part of Shaun's role is to deliver the nationally recognised anti-racism program in conjunction with Act Now Theatre, Generation of Change, and two weeks after starting, Shaun’s was in action.
Shaun’s first workshop was delivered at Blackwood High School where he was able to observe Reconciliation SA’s own CEO Shona Reid delivering the Reconciliation SA part of the program
The Shaun then had a intensive delivery across the Far West Coast and Eyre Peninsula before heading back to the Claire, Nuriootpa and metropolitan area for deliveries.
This provided a great opportunity utilised the gifted car from the Department for Treasury and Finance. Putting rubber to road for these deliveries and increase our small organisations capacity to engage regional schools and partners in our work.
His next week was no less frantic, and following his busy first month, Shaun answered some questions.
Can you tell us a bit about your first month?
The first four weeks have been challenging but rewarding. I had to adapt and learn quickly about my role and what it entails. After having some discussions with my team, I got comfortable right away with what responsibilities were mine. So far, the most challenging part within this role would be recently completing a two-week block delivering 10 ‘’Generation of Change” workshops to middle school students across the state. Being thrown in ‘’the deep end’’ I believe has assisted me with growing into the role and being versatile. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.
Tell us more about what you’ve been delivering?
So far, I’ve been delivering Generation of Change workshops to middle school students. They range from year 7 to 12. My section in the program I deliver details and explains the many layers of racism and how it impacts Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. This is a day long program that focuses upon the problem of racism in schools, potential solutions and improving the overall cultural safety in schools. I will be delivering Racism in the workplace to worksites and businesses that require anti-racism strategies.
How did you find working alongside Reconciliation SA CEO Shona Reid for the very first delivery?
I found it educating and enjoyed how passionate Shona was talking about racism. The delivery style is like the way I want to deliver and that’s because it’s a topic close to my heart. I want to emulate change and this program allows me to do that.
Which schools did you visit, and how was the reception by students?
Blackwood High was first and was the first- and only-time watching Shona deliver. Pt Lincoln was next followed by Ceduna, Brompton, Nurioopta, Gladstone, Clare, Paralowie and Botanic. Overall, the reception from the students were very engaging and had a lot of maturity.
How did you find the theatre component of the program (delivered by ActNow Theatre and how do you value them?
I found the theatre component a very important ingredient with the whole workshop. The actors provide scenarios to allow students to intervene on how to call our racism. Very engaging to the students and very challenging to all involved. The language used in the role-playing scenarios impact the actors and we check up on each other post session to make sure we are feeling safe.
What was the best part of your recent deliveries?
The mind shifts with students on how they acknowledge the impacts racism causes on First Nations people and other cultural backgrounds. The satisfaction I get in delivering such a great program to younger generations makes me feel there is hope for getting rid of racism.
Shaun believes that in his role, the sky is the limit, and he is excited to deliver more programs to more schools, saying that this role allows him to educate people about anti racism strategies, and how it impacts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, but also that there can be a bright future ahead, full of opportunity for First Nations people.
“The more schools and businesses we deliver to, the more people will understand and be aware of what racism looks like. This will be a long journey, but a rewarding one, where future generations can identify when racism pops it’s ugly head out.” - Shaun Childs