'Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples are leading fulfilling & successful lives; restored to a place of dignity & respect where they are fully valued'

Aim of The Project

The COACH Indigenous Programs aims to see Indigenous families & individuals in the Townsville & Palm Island regions be empowered & supported to establish a plan to address their self-identified life challenges to break the cycle & close the gap of generational disadvantage.

Together we are set to mobilise Indigenous and non-Indigenous Mentors by training and equipping them to provide culturally appropriate support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing vulnerability. 

We aim to empower Indigenous families and individuals in the Townsville region to close the gap of generational disadvantage as they work on self-identified life challenges. 

Along with the training, the mentors will use their life experience, wisdom and knowledge to provide mentoring support to 24 indigenous families or individuals in the Townsville and Palm Island region for 36 months. A combination of paid and volunteer mentors will be screened, trained and matched to help the families or individuals achieve a personal goal.

Indigenous COACH Community Mentoring has been developed by local Salvation Army Indigenous leaders in partnership with the COACH Network. The Salvation Army Team in Townsville is led by Shirli Congoo and Jennifer Reuben.

In Partnership With

The Indigenous COACH Program Consultative Team

In recognition of the COACH Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Project Team without whose dedication and generosity of spirit, unswerving passion to make a difference while maintaining cultural integrity, and their well-intentioned use of cultural knowledge with deep-rooted connections to community and to ‘Country’; this project would not have been possible. Their contributions, individually and collectively, are gratefully and respectfully acknowledged.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Consultative Committee:

Shirli Congoo
Salvation Army – General Manager Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Team

Terrence Whyte
Salvation Army Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Youth & Children’s Specialist

Florence Onus
Elder, respected community member, and former National Chair Healing Foundation 

Lynnette Ireland
Ireland Educational Consultancies

Chris Congoo
Salvation Army Divisional Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Engagement Coordinator

Mark Matthews
COACH Program Co-Author

To find out more about The Salvation Army Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs please click on the button below:

Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation and harmony, we respectfully acknowledge all traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander custodians of Australia and humbly recognise their continuing and deeply embedded connections to:

‘Country’ – to land, sea, waterways, spirit, community, animals, stories and ancestors. We further recognise the historical connections to other new ‘Country’ that many contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have due to past policies of removals. We also pay homage to Elders past, present, and emerging. We additionally honour the enduring spirit, significant sacrifices, and lasting legacy of previous generations with the continuance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.


Artwork by Terence Whyte

The grey background includes 2 columns of spear heads representing Aboriginal & Torres Straits  Islander peoples. On either sides are waves/unsettled waters that represents life’s burdens.

The black dots represent the mentee’s life journey, The blue dots represent the mentors coming alongside the mentee, the white dots inside the blue dots is the COACH program that the mentor carries and the white dots inside the black dots are when the mentor shares the COACH program with the mentee.

There are 3 meetings that indicate the beginning, the middle and end of the program, where the mentee meets with the mentor and the COACH Coordinator, and as the COACH program progress the meetings may include other supports for the mentee.

Finally the end of the last meeting you’ll notice black dots with blue and white dots inside coming alongside the black dots also with the white dots, that represents the mentee becoming a mentor and sharing what they have learned from the COACH program.

About the Artist: The creator of the artwork Terence Whyte, descends from the Kaurareg Nation (Cape York), Goemulgal people (Torres Strait) and Wiradjuri Nation (New  South Wales).

For more information, please contact:

Mark Matthews – Indigenous COACH Program Lead & Co-Author of COACH
Phone – 0477 738 214