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Students at risk:
Can connections make a difference?

by Nahid Kabir & Tony Rickards

The ARC-funded Smart Communities research project in Western Australia was designed to investigate and provide directions 'for improvement in the life choices available to children and young people at risk in remote, rural and urban areas of Western Australia'. Part of the project involved examining the life stories of 21 at-risk students, including recent African refugees, immigrants, Aborigines and 'established' Australians. This paper considers students' hopes and aspirations, family and community connections, the contribution of cultural influences toward their welfare and the degree of optimism felt by the youngsters.