Blake Borgia gained his first experience working in a remote Aboriginal community volunteering with NASCA in 2009, when he first met the resilient and proud kids of Papunya.  Fast forward to June 2017, eight years on, Blake a full time Program Manager continues NASCA’s work in Northern Territory communities and in Redfern.

A former NBL, Sydney Kings basketballer, Blake lives and breathes NASCA’s health and education programs and has seen the impacts and importance of sustained long term relationships in community development.

“I remember first meeting Sammy when he was a little fellah, funny, bright eyed with a knack for any sport and a talented musician.  Seeing Sammy now as a proud young man the younger ones now look up to and respect is inspiring.” Blake said.

In early June Blake returned to Papunya with a team of three volunteers, Kaitlin, Stacey and Nigel.  Kaitlin remarked on the evident relationship and connection NASCA and Blake held in community, “Blake had a great relationship with community members in Papunya, which strongly contributed to feeling more accepted and welcomed into the community.” Kaitlin said.

June Team Papunya left to right:  Blake Borgia, Stacey Kane, Kaitlin Moore & Nigel Milgate

NASCA’s impact on school attendance in Papunya since 2015 has seen spikes as high as 30% with a sustained positive trend of 6% overall.  Currently attendance data for kids in remote NT schools rests at 57%.  Given the national average for non-Indigenous kids is 93%, there remains a lot to do to close the gap.

Back in 2009, Blake did not know that volunteering would lead to a career dedicated to working with Aboriginal youth. “NASCA is the ideal fit for me, our work focuses on education, personal development and sport all guided by Aboriginal people and communities.  There are few people who can say they honestly love what they do, I’m definitely one of the lucky ones.” Blake said.

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