True Blue Dreaming was founded by 2001 Young Australian of the Year Dr James Fitzpatrick following a six month tour of 50 regional and remote communities where he identified a need for mentoring relationships to help support our young Australians.
The official launch of the True Blue Dreaming Youth Mentoring Project took place at Wyalkatchem District High School on the 27 June 2004. More than 200 people including parents, young people, service providers, local government members and teachers from Wylie, Koorda and Trayning attended the day’s activities. The launch of this exciting pilot project occurred after countless hours of work by the Local Co-ordinating Group, Wyalkatchem District High School, Shire of Wyalkatchem, Program Advisory Group, and several key individuals.
Since the launch in 2004, True Blue Dreaming has gone from strength to strength. In 2013, one of our mentors at the time, Akram Azimi, was recognised for his work with young people and became 2013 Young Australian of the Year. In the same year, Professor Fiona Stanley came onboard as our official Patron.
Although Wyalkatchem remains our flagship program, since 2004 True Blue Dreaming has grown and expanded significantly. We now provide youth mentoring and support services in eight locations across rural and regional WA, stretching from Bruce Rock in the Wheat Belt to as far north as Halls Creek in the Kimberley, and many destinations in between.
Equality and Diversity
We celebrate diversity and believe all young Australians should have access to equal opportunities regardless of location, background or circumstance.
We strive to adopt a collaborative approach, working with communities and other groups to achieve our vision and mission. We respect and seek to learn from the communities and people with whom we work.
We involve, encourage and support communities, mentors and mentees to take part, have a voice and feel empowered. We create empowering environments that enable others to excel and achieve their dreams.
We strive to deliver meaningful programs that are tailored to the needs of individual communities. We use data and feedback to measure our impact and to continually improve and expand.
Dr James Fitzpatrick is a pioneering consultant paediatrician and Head of the Perth-based Telethon Kid’s Institute’s Alcohol, Pregnancy and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) research program. In 2001 James was named Young Australian of the Year for his longstanding dedication to addressing rural and Indigenous health issues. Sixteen years later he won the 2017 West Australian of the Year Professions Award for his groundbreaking research into FASD. He was also WA finalist for the Australia of the Year awards in 2017.
As the founder in 2016 of PATCHES Paediatrics, James is responsible for bringing together paediatricians, psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists and social workers as a one-stop-shop for multi-disciplinary assessment, to provide a single diagnostic and treatment report for rural communities. He also currently sits on the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Equality Council that advises the Federal Government on the development of a 10 year national ATSI health plan.
He is a Chief Investigator on a Federally funded project aimed at improving the lives of children living in remote Indigenous communities in the WA Kimberley, in partnership with local community organisations Nindilingarri Cultural Health Services and Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Center; and national research institutes The George Institute for Global Health and Sydney University. The work involved estimating for the first time in Australia the prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in the 40 remote communities of the Fitzroy Valley.
James has been a rabble-rouser and activist for some time. As the chairman of the National Rural Health Students Network in 2000, James shifted the focus of this organisation of 5000 medical and allied health students to deliver community service activities to some of Australia’s most remote communities. In that year he helped to establish the Carnarvon Children’s Festival in Western Australia in response to alarming rates of youth suicide. Through the Children’s Festival members of the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities were encouraged to come together and celebrate the value of young people within the community.
Professor Fiona Stanley AC
Born in Sydney in 1946, Professor Fiona Stanley moved to Perth with her family in 1956. She studied medicine at the University of Western Australia and practised in hospitals for two years before going to the United Kingdom and USA for further training in epidemiology (the science of describing and explaining the occurrence of disease in populations), biostatistics and public health.
In 2004, Professor Stanley was honoured as a “National Living Treasure” by the National Trust. She is the UNICEF Australia Ambassador for Early Childhood Development.
Professor Stanley has more than 300 published papers in scientific journals and is a member of the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council. She has served on the Federal Government’s Social Inclusion Board and the WA State Government’s Indigenous Implementation Board. She has given many presentations, both nationally and internationally, on the socio-economic determinants of child health.
Professor Stanley remains committed to a number of important roles, including: Distinguished Research Professor at the School of Paediatrics and Child Health, UWA; Vice Chancellor’s Fellow, University of Melbourne; member of the ABC Board; and Chair of the newly-formed Alcohol Advertising Review Board
Her Excellency the Honorable Kerry Sanderson AO, Governor of Western Australia
Mrs Kerry Sanderson AO has had a distinguished career in government and business and was named an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2004 for service to the development and management of the port and maritime industries in Australia, and to public sector governance in the areas of finance and transport in Western Australia.
She has taken a strong interest in continuing education throughout her career, and she co-chaired the First Murdoch Commission which looked at Western Australia and its place in the region, and assessed the challenges and prospects that the Asian region will present to WA.
Her distinguished career with government included 17 years as Chief Executive Officer of Fremantle Ports. She led Fremantle Ports through a program of major change, reform, commercialisation and improvement with Fremantle Ports achieving triple accreditation for quality, safety and the environment.
From 2008 to 2011 Mrs Sanderson was Agent General for Western Australia. This position is based in London and covers Europe and Russia and is responsible for promoting investment in Western Australia as well as Western Australian exports and interests generally.
Immediately prior to taking on the role of Governor Mrs Sanderson was Chairman of Gold Corporation and the independent chair of the State Emergency Management Committee.
Mrs Sanderson enjoys the natural environment and her recreational interests include keeping fit, walking and hiking , travel and reading as well as continued learning.
Mrs Kerry Sanderson was installed as the 32nd Governor and the inaugural female Governor of Western Australia on 20 October 2014.
Tom is a mining professional with approximately 30 years’ experience in the resources industry. Significant experience in recent years has been gained in strategy development and delivery, business establishment and corporate development and communications.
His professional life has seen him live and work in many overseas locations including Africa and South America but also in the rural areas of Western Australia including Wiluna, Meekatharra and Leonora, where he developed his understanding for the need for mentoring youth in rural and outback areas.
Tom has been an active member of the Western Australian Hungarian community for over 20 years and is currently a board member of Ferrum Crescent Limited, Empire Resources Limited and Ssafen PLC.
Until recently, Tom served as Vice Chairman of the Australian Latin American Business Council for approximately 5 years.
Secretary / Treasurer
Ross was born in Albany, and has lived in Esperance, Kununurra, Pinjarra, Waroona and other regional areas. Whilst initially seeing himself as a future farmer in the Esperance district, he eventually decided to study psychology part-time. He did this over a period of 12 years whilst being dad to two young boys.
Over the last 25 years Ross has worked as a psychologist, and with wife of 12 years Jacquie has overseen the growth of the joint family from five grown sons to an additional six beautiful grandchildren. Much of what Ross does involves helping people learn how to take charge of their own life through having the courage to decide how they would like their life to be, and the personal skills to manage their reactions to other people and situations, the assertiveness to speak their minds constructively, and the self pride to enjoy achieving their own goals. Helping people achieve better outcomes from their home and family relationships is also something that gives Ross enormous satisfaction.
Alumni and Historian Representative
Jan Trenorden has been a lifelong community member of the Wyalkatchem district. In addition to her business responsibilities for her family farm, she is employed by the WA Government Department for Child Protection. This is the formal aspect of her longstanding devotion to the welfare of young people and their families. She has also been philanthropically engaged with youth matters for some time.
As a former True Blue Dreaming community representative and project co-ordinator, Jan has been the Wheatbelt local driving force behind the TBD program since it was piloted in Wyalkatchem in 2005. She is committed to encouraging local children to reach their dreams and plans projects with the mentors to deliver new experiences for rural students.
Francis hails from the south west region where he grew up on a family farm close to Manjimup. He attended primary school in Manjimup before moving to Karratha for 18 months as his parents followed opportunities for work with the Department of Parks and Wildlife. During his time up north he was able to explore the wild open country and beautiful national parks with his family.
Francis returned south to finish his secondary schooling in Bunbury before moving to Perth and living at St George’s College to attend the University of Western Australia. In 2016 he completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in Anatomy & Human Biology and Biochemistry before continuing with his studies in the post-graduate Medicine course. Francis has been involved with True Blue Dreaming since he began living at St George’s College and was the co-ordinator there in 2016. He hopes to apply his studies in medicine to his love of rural Australia.
Board Member and Community Representative
Karen is assistant co-ordinator for the long-running and successful True Blue Dreaming program at Bruce Rock District High School. She is also Community-based liaison officer and a board member at the school.
Outside her school roles, Karen is a partner in a grain and livestock family farming enterprise and a board member of Regional Development Australian Wheatbelt. She is also a past board member of the Women’s Advisory Council for the Minister for Women’s Business.
Susie Jackson has extensive experience advising and working with start-ups, small business, local government, community and social sector clients.
As a founder of several companies in both Australia and Europe, she has a broad knowledge of the start-up and venture capital process. She is a highly capable leader, executive and entrepreneur with experience in both commercial and social sectors. She has successfully taken on challenging projects in several countries.
With CEO experience, she has also worked at executive level in a major Not-for-Profit (NFP) and raised over $3.5m in grant funding; for her own companies, NFP’s and community organisations. Academic achievements include a Bachelor of Commerce and a Certificate of Social Impact from UWA. Susie is a committee member of Social Impact Measurement Network Australia WA.