Think RAPT is proud to support Koorie Academy as our chosen charity partner. Koorie Academy engages and empowers young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders through basketball and cultural activities.
We have chosen to support this program as part of demonstrating our commitment to being active allies for First Nations peoples in Australia. We wanted to support a program that is led by local Elders at a grassroots level.
We knew this program was the one for us because our founder, Renée Hasseldine, wrote her book on Gunai Kurnai land and the program is led by proud Gunai Kurnai man, Ricky Baldwin.
Each 2 day Sports and Culture Camp for 30 Indigenous and Torres Strait Island children costs $9,110 to run. To sponsor a single child costs $310.
Koorie Academy Sports & Culture Programs
Funds raised will be used to run programs that engage with and empower the younger generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders through basketball and cultural activities that allow kids the opportunity to play sport and also learn about their own culture and identity.
These Sports and Culture programs will incorporate basketball skills and drills, health and wellbeing advice and cultural education and activities. The program will:
- Provide participants with a connection to culture, country and community
- Divert participants away from negative interaction with the Justice system
- Provide pathways to higher education and meaningful employment
- Improve physical, social and emotional wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people
- Promote gender equality within Aboriginal and Torres Islander communities and beyond.
The program will be hosted in conjunction with community Aboriginal Elders and in partnership with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait tribes and representative groups, the Local Government Authorities and local basketball associations across Australia.
Meet the Program Leader – Ricky Baldwin
Ricky is a proud Gunai Kurnai man who has been advocating for his people to have access to the same opportunities as everyone else for more than 20 years. His passion lies in giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people opportunities to participate in and compete in sport, to learn about their cultural heritage and connections to country, and to build the knowledge, skills and resources they need to successfully engage in education and employment opportunities.
A very promising young basketball player who possessed an exceptional talent and was able to play at an elite level – with the right support Ricky could have taken his basketball career all the way to the NBL. But unresolved trauma from his past continued to manifest itself as anger throughout his early years.
It was with the support of Elders and a psychologist that he was able to reconnect with his culture and understand that his anger did not represent who he was, but rather was due to the trauma he had suffered. Besieged by anger and hurt for too much of his life, in the end these feelings became the light that showed Ricky where his true strengths lied, the healing power of his resilience, and the sense of responsibility that fundamentally sums up his overarching goal in life – doing all that he can to ensure no other Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child feels as lost and alone as he did.
On a national scale, Rick’s coaching and advocacy has afforded his community many wins that continue to go largely unrecognised. In 2019, he was Head Coach of the Australian Indigenous Women’s team. He has coached hundreds of basketball teams in his career, including many junior teams. As a Coach, Rick has developed very strong relationships with many young people and he continues to mentor them into their adulthood. What drives his passion to mentor Indigenous kids is to provide them with a sense of hope and self-determination that he never had for himself growing up.