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'Achievement, pride and inspiration': outcomes for volunteer role models in a community outreach program in remote Aboriginal communities

Submitted: 2 February 2015
Revised: 10 June 2015
Accepted: 24 July 2015
Published: 16 October 2015

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Author(s) : Cinelli RL, Peralta LR.

Citation: Cinelli RL, Peralta LR.  'Achievement, pride and inspiration': outcomes for volunteer role models in a community outreach program in remote Aboriginal communities. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2015; 15: 3482. Available: (Accessed 20 October 2017)


Introduction:  There is growing support for the prosocial value of role modelling in programs for adolescents and the potentially positive impact role models can have on health and health behaviours in remote communities. Despite known benefits for remote outreach program recipients, there is limited literature on the outcomes of participation for role models.
Methods:  Twenty-four role models participated in a remote outreach program across four remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, Australia (100% recruitment). Role models participated in semi-structured one-on-one interviews. Transcripts were coded and underwent thematic analysis by both authors.
Results:  Cultural training, Indigenous heritage and prior experience contributed to general feelings of preparedness, yet some role models experienced a level of culture shock, being confronted by how disparate the communities were to their home communities. Benefits of participation included exposure to and experience with remote Aboriginal peoples and community, increased cultural knowledge, personal learning, forming and building relationships, and skill development.
Conclusions:  Effective role model programs designed for remote Indigenous youth can have positive outcomes for both role models and the program recipients. Cultural safety training is an important factor for preparing role models and for building their cultural competency for implementing health and education programs in remote Indigenous communities in Australia. This will maximise the opportunities for participants to achieve outcomes and minimise their culture shock.

Key words: Aboriginal, Australia, cultural training, health promotion program, role models.

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