Newsboys Foundation 125 Years 3 Waverley Stanley only had a moment to talk to us about the work he’s been doing for 14 years with his creation, Yalari. Waverley had arrived in Alice Springs and was about to take a cohort of Year 9 kids out to Uluru; maybe the 24th or 25th time he’s visited the big rock. Waverley and his wife, Llew Mullins, founded Yalari to try to create generational change among Indigenous youth by raising funds for scholarships so they could attend Australia’s top boarding schools and receive an excellent education. Newsboys Foundation came on board early, as a scholarship provider, enthusiastic about Waverley’s plan to create future Indigenous leaders, through elite learning as well as connections into non-Indigenous circles through schoolmates and shared experiences. With more than 300 alumni across Australia, Yalari has been a stunning success and Waverley admits his joy in the program extends way beyond his familiarity with Uluru. He enthuses about the fact that a student at St Hilda’s College on the Gold Coast is actually now sponsored by a group of Yalari students, all chipping in $650 each per year and already giving back to the program before they’d even graduated. There are currently 189 scholarships placed among 26 schools from Year 7 to Year 12, and the annual Uluru trip is where the Year 9 students all come together to swap stories and support each other. “For 40 weeks out of 52, they’re in boarding school and they have to learn to cope, have to get through stuff and deal with homesickness,” Waverley said. “At this Year 9 camp, there’s a sense of them being brothers and sisters.” Jaycee Sellings, 15, was on that trip last year and can’t speak highly enough of the entire Yalari experience. Winning one of the prized scholarships has already dramatically changed her life. She is candid that she’s not even sure she’d still be in school if she’d headed to the local ‘seco’ (secondary school) where she comes from, in the South Gippsland traditional country of the Gunaikurnai people. Having been encouraged by her big brother, a Yalari scholar, Jaycee applied and was offered a full scholarship to Geelong Grammar, funded by the Newsboys Foundation. Now in Year 10, she continues to feel inspired by the support and encouragement that the scholarship represents. “I find it very motivating,” she said. “If I get a bad grade, I don’t feel pressure. We talk about the struggle I may have had and why I got that mark and work out ways to improve.” Jaycee said she had always liked Yalari’s philosophy regarding the development of future Indigenous leaders. “I embraced it from the start,” she said. “That pushed me harder to try and get it.” Jaycee is considering potential careers. In the mix are becoming a midwife, a veterinarian, or a paediatrician. They all involve helping people or animals. As Yalari has shown her already, we’re all here to help each other. The earliest Yalari scholarship holders are now long past school and out in the world, contributing in whatever way they see fit. Waverley says their progress never ceases to give him a thrill. “Every time I travel around, I’m always catching up with one of them,” he said. “It’s wonderful to be picked up now at the airport by some of our children. You’ve followed them through from Grade 7 and they are taking you to their house for a meal and it’s nearly like it’s come full circle. We looked after them and now they are starting to look after us.” Newsboys Foundation has supported Yalari with grants since 2007. Yalari helps Indigenous students attend some of the best private schools in Australia. In the process, Yalari is building a new generation of community leaders. Since 2009, Newsboys Foundation has supported a Yalari student to attend Geelong Grammar School. Jedd Vocale graduated in 2014. In 2018, Jaycee Sellings was completing Year 10. Visit: Creating leaders of the future Yalari students across Australia are getting a great education, building careers and creating strong leadership. With Newsboys’ support, Jaycee Sellings is one of them