AIME believes that Indigenous = success. We expect all students in our program to succeed. Over the last nine years, our mentoring program has connected thousands of kids with young Indigenous and non Indigenous university student mentors, inspiring them to finish high school and enter university, employment or further education and reach their true potential. Often, it's the support of a mentor to shine a light on where their talents lay.

A recent example came up at an AIME workshop in Western Australia. Our mentor, Heath Ward, a Psychology student at Curtin University, was working with a group of Year 10 kids from Bindoon Catholic Agricultural College. Along with sessions on racism, and an activity where they prepare the first speech they’ll deliver as Prime Minister, AIME ran a session called AIME's Got Game, where students were given the chance to showcase their individual talents. 

While some of the students were happily taking part, Heath noticed one young bloke who was hanging back. Everett, who’d previously been taking part in the day’s activities, was now standing on the outside of the group. Heath asked Everett what was wrong; Everett reckoned he didn’t have any talents.

So, Heath made a few suggestions: rapping? Dancing? Everett shook his head. So Heath suggested a talent that Everett didn’t even know he had yet. Within half-an-hour, Heath taught Everett how to juggle - and juggle like a champ, too.

Whether or not Everett decides he’d like to take his juggling pro, what really matters is that he and Heath connected. They had fun, worked together, and in the end, came up with something pretty impressive. A thoughtful, considerate mentor encouraged a young man to step out from behind his shyness to become more confident and connected. It epitomises the AIME experience.

This is what our organisation does on a larger scale. An independent 2012 report by KPMG found that the AIME program contributed $38 million to the Australian economy in 2012, and generates a return on investment of $7 for every $1 spent.

With the help of supporters like the Coca-Cola Australia Foundation, by 2018, AIME will annually engage 10,000 Indigenous high school students across Australia. Our goal is to have Indigenous students transitioning into university, employment or further training at the same rate as every Australian child. And, with the amount of young Indigenous talent out there, it’s well within our reach.