OtK is a Kowanyama focused, not-for-profit registered charity run completely by volunteers. What we do in Kowanyama has changed as our relationship to the community deepens, as the community itself undergoes change and as OtK grows/matures. One activity/program that was the initial kickstarter of the early beginnings of OtK, was the school holiday program that ran from 2004 to around 2015.
OtK’s current diverse range of activities/programs are testament to its place in Kowanyama. Through long term commitment, relationship building, adaptation and hard work we are made to feel welcome in the community and are well known and accepted. As challenging as this can be in Kowanyama at times, we see ourselves as working “with” Kowanyama people, not “for”, to help improve the situation there.
OtK is a dynamic, not static organisation. OtK will continue to evaluate the effectiveness of what it does and will always be open to change that benefits the people of Kowanyama. OtK is acutely aware of the idea that “helping” can sometimes “hurt” and that real help is not always initially perceived as such. Particularly in disadvantaged communities. Whilst Kowanyama has many strengths to be built upon we also know that it ranks as the fifth most disadvantaged community in Australia and that youth face many challenges to build the future they want to value. The challenges facing our society in general are tough, but in remote communities they can be multiplied and magnified. Finding solutions to these challenges is a goal of OtK.
All coordinators, management and all program teams are volunteers who contribute both their time and their own money. The large majority of our volunteers come from churches. We are a non-denominational Christian faith-based organisation. We serve people of all beliefs and backgrounds in Kowanyama and partner with and are supported by people from all walks of life and backgrounds. We do not discriminate on any basis whether it be race, religion, sexuality, gender and we aim to provide benevolence based on need.
We encourage all our volunteers to consider long term commitment and to be involved for the ‘right reasons.’
We are always looking for opportunities to be some support to other Kowanyama community initiatives or to serve the community. We work closely with the local school, the aboriginal community controlled health organisation Apunipima, the local church and other agencies, have helped the local aboriginal corporation, Kowanyama Playgroup and Kowanyama Women's Group in various projects. We are open to anything that serves the wellbeing of disadvantaged people in the community although our main focus is on youth.