Helping our girls reach their potential, Parkes High launches mentor program

Don’t ever be afraid to stand out in a crowd for the right reason, a group of Parkes High senior girls were told on Friday at the launch of a program aimed at empowering young women.

Parkes High School Head Teacher Wellbeing Hannah Hawker and four mentors officially launched the mentoring program in Parkes’ Cook Park.

“We have four amazing women who want to share their stories, share their skills with you to help you be successful in whichever way you see that to be from now into your senior years and once you progress through life,” Ms Hawker said.

The program Galiyanha (Wiradjuri for ascend) officially begins next year.

The mentors are interior stylist and author Karen Creith; Manager People, Safety and Environment with CMOC-Northparkes Mines Stacey Kelly; Parkes deputy mayor Barbara Newton and; owner of Colouby Creations Kristy Berry.

“Karen Creith is the reason this program is happening,” Ms Hawker said.

“She wanted to make sure you all had the skills to be able to be successful.”

Addressing the launch Ms Creith said she is proud of the journey she has been on which has seen her progress from owning a local business, writing a column for the Champion Post to becoming editor of a magazine and writing two books..

“When you listen to the stories of these other women you are going to realise you are part of a pretty special program, Ms Creith told the girls.

“We’ve effectively created a community for you of strong, confident, empowered women who want to help you be the best you.

“Don’t ever be afraid to stand out in a crowd if it is for all the right reasons,” Ms Creith said.

Parkes deputy mayor Barbara Newton, the first woman in Parkes Shire to be a deputy mayor, encouraged the girls to think about jobs in local government and being an elected member.

“It is really important the female view is heard,” I’m always looking at ways to enhance things that are happening for girls and women in our community,” she said.

Cr Newton described her career as chequered.

“I’ve been a nurse, I’ve been a day care mum, I’ve been an opera singer, I’ve gone back to nursing, I’m now a local government elected member and I’m a deputy mayor.

“There’s nothing stopping you from having a go.

“If you’re interested you have a go, but it can be extremely challenging. What we’re trying to do today is for you to know that you’re not alone, you’re never ever alone.

“I’m really happy to listen and I know the other women involved are too.

“We all really do understand those challenges, those scary bits of changing our way, our constant self doubt.

“It’s really important that you understand we have seen so many obstacles and we’ve taken chances, taken opportunity when it has come to us,”

“I’m really so honoured to think I can have some interaction with you girls,” Cr Newton said.

Manager People, Safety and Environment with Northparkes Stacey Kelly told the girls she “learnt early that education was the way to progress”.

“I was definitely not one of the smartest girls in my class but that ability to set goals and have passion about what I was doing got me to where I ended up,” Ms Kelly said.

Prior to joining CMOC-Northparkes Ms Kelly was recipient, at the end of her schooling, of an overseas sports scholarship, a Defence Force Academy scholarship and was accepted into an Arts degree course.

She joined the Defence Forces, taking what she described as “a leap of faith in a very, very competitive environment”.

Injuries resulted in her being medically discharged which was followed by her to do youth work and enrolling in a Law degree before completing a Diploma of Education.

She spent 10 years teaching ending up at Forbes High School before joining Northparkes.

“As you go through life you’ll be able to reflect and think about key moments or key people in your life and one of those people for me was Adele Bintley, the manager of Human Resources at Northparkes,” Ms Kelly said.

“I asked her if she had anything for me and within about five weeks I was at the mine.

“I knew I needed a new challenge and have never looked back.

“We have an outstanding number of young women and experienced women at the mine who would love to be involved in something like this,” Ms Kelly said.

Kristy Berry will share her story with the girls next year.

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