A group of thirty girls from Wilie Park High School visited Fleet Base East to get a first hand glimpse of how the working Navy works, as part of the New South Wales Police led community engagement program 'Wise Up'.
New South Wales Police Community Liaison Officer Mr Gandhi Sindyan from Campsie Local Area Command described the program as being a grass roots initiative to provide positive role models for the girls from Sydney's culturally diverse western suburbs.
"Wise Up is about helping the girls to realise that they can be an individual, and that it is important to stand up for what you believe in.
"It is also about giving the community an exposure to the work undertaken by the women and men of the Navy," Mr Sindyan said.
On arrival at Fleet Base East the group was met by Captain Mona Shindy, the Chief of Navy's Strategic Advisor on Islamic Cultural Affairs.
"We are pleased to work with New South Wales Police and the other community groups to showcase Navy as an employer of choice.
“It is lovely to show young people what Navy is all about and how it includes and serves all members of the Australian community.
“These opportunities to engage with a diverse range of young Australians align well with Navy’s reform, diversity and inclusion objectives.”
"This Wise Up group consists of young ladies who face a variety of challenges growing up in the Western Suburbs, many of them coming from environments that are artificially isolated from many aspects of the broad Australian community.
"Hopefully experiences like this will give them a taste for the work done by the men and women of the Royal Australian Navy, giving them options to consider for the future and providing an insight into the possibilities when effective integration occurs," Captain Shindy said.
Senior Constable Kim Handcock of Campsie Police echoed these sentiments.
"So many of their families have never left their local suburb, and have rarely experienced the wider Australian community.
"The Navy is a career that most of these girls would never have even considered, so hopefully this experience opens their eyes to a wide range of options," Senior Constable Handcock said.
The visit took in a ship's tour of HMAS Success, led by several of the ship's officers, where the students had a chance to look at accommodation for officers and junior sailors, the junior sailor's cafe, the bridge and the cargo control room.
After leaving Success, the 'Wise Up' group visited the Navy Heritage Centre, where Captain Shindy gave a presentation on her 25 year career in the Navy.
Captain Shindy's presentation included some advice for the young Australians present.
"Yes, I was born overseas, yes, I am Muslim and yes, I have dark skin, yet I never let stereotypes stop me from becoming who I am.
"I am incredibly privileged to live in such a free and inclusive society where cultural diversity enhances and strengthens our nation, and I am thankful that I am able to serve my country and do an amazing job that has taken me around the world.
"Honour, honesty and courage are integral traits to becoming a humanistic leader.
"Never compromise your values - diversity in individuals is what makes a strong team," Captain Shindy said.
The Wise Up initiative was also attended by representatives of the New South Wales State Emergency Service, the Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL club, the Smith Family and Wilie Park High School.
The Wise Up Program is an initiative of the Campsie Police in partnership with the Greater Western Sydney Giants, The New South Wales State Emergency Service and the Bankstown Police Citizens Youth Club to provide young people with positive role models in the community, with the aim of instilling good leadership skills.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20141644.