By Connor Watson
The Cultural Choice Association (CCAI) is a newly established not for profit association whose dream is to raise awareness and support the prevention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth suicide and its related causes in Australia.
Our passion for CCAI came about through my family’s journey. My dad Mark is a Gamilaroi man from Walgett in northern NSW and worked for many years as an Aboriginal Education Worker in local high schools for disengaged young adults. In this role he witnessed firsthand the disparity between mainstream students, disadvantaged and Aboriginal students.
More recently, through the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation I was fortunate to receive an education scholarship that our family could have only dreamed about. Through our experiences we would often reflect on the significance of ‘opportunity’ on a young person’s perception of what might be possible in life and we were inspired to find a way to create opportunities for others less fortunate. .
In 2017, I lost my cousin at the age of 17 to youth suicide. As a family faced with the rising tragedy of youth suicide (in particular Indigenous Youth suicide) it was at this point that the focus and passion to make a difference in the lives of young aboriginal people gained impetus and CCAI was established.
Through education, and wellbeing programs CCAI aims to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children the opportunity to believe in a future without limitation and in turn, to realise our Dream to raise awareness and support the prevention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth suicide and its related causes in Australia.