THE man who is bringing indigenous culture and understanding to the front of people’s minds throughout South Gippsland and Bass Coast, John Murray, has been nominated for the Federation Training Gippsland Regional Achiever Award.
The awards are part of the 2016 Victorian Regional Achievement and Community Awards.
As a Koorie Engagement Support Officer with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, John saw the need for a culturally sensitive space in schools for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island (ATSI) students.
The Learning Stones project is the culmination of his vision and insight into the needs of students to celebrate their culture in a safe and significant place within their school.
Learning Stones are now in all schools and kindergartens throughout the two shires, as well as hospitals, libraries and other public spaces.
The program is now expanding further afield.
Learning Stones has exceeded expectations. It has provided a safe and accessible place for aboriginal and non-aboriginal students in schools. It has also created a cultural connection and sense of pride for the whole community.
Judging will take place on August 31 with the regional finalists acknowledged and winners announced at an Awards Gala Presentation Dinner on Friday, October 14.
All nominees not successful in reaching the finals but able to attend the Award Presentations will also be presented on stage with a framed certificate in recognition of their achievements.

YMCA in the running

YMCA Bass Coast could win a Community Group of the Year award after it was nominated as part of the Victorian Regional Achievement and Community Awards.
It was nominated as passionate advocate for the improvement of community health.
“Through the management of the leisure facilities in Bass Coast and the opportunity to impact the community through a range of Community Development projects, the YMCA has demonstrated a strong commitment to work with all facets of the community.”
Programs and services include learn to swim programs for children with additional needs, fundraising for families experiencing hardship, prevention of violence towards women and youth mentoring programs, along with the day to operation of the leisure centre to deliver affordable, exceptional health and fitness service to members of the community.