Kevin Costa is an educator, outdoor guide, cartoonist, aging cricketer and committed Disc Golfer.
Living with his beautiful wife Sharon near Molong in Central West NSW he works as a multi-faculty Head Teacher at the local Central School and is a strong, active advocate for the importance of young people connecting with, engaging in and contributing to their communities.
Kevin began his teaching career at Miller High School in South Western Sydney where the rich and diverse cultural mix of students had a lasting impact upon his views on the value of understanding, respect and celebration of diversity.
At Gloucester High School Kevin developed and established the first Gloucester Multi-cultural Festival. These events featured visits by students from the Miller Intensive English Centre who, through powerful community drama performances, told the stories of their lives while connecting with the local community, living with local families and experiencing life in rural Australia.
Now in its eleventh year this has developed into a major cultural event in the Gloucester community with long term significant benefits to those involved. Kevin has now introduced a similar Festival in Molong, which is in its third year and has been widely embraced by the community. Kevin has also run the Duke of Edinburgh Award for over 20 years, introducing hundreds of students to the outdoors and the personal benefits of contributing to their community through this program.
His current focus project is the restoration and rehabilitation of a large tract of overgrown and neglected land in Molong which he is undertaking with students with the aim of developing a multi-use community park space – he believes that it is projects like these which help engage young people with their community, develop a sense of value and self worth and set up positive values of contribution which can last a lifetime. Kevin’s contribution to young people has been recognised through his receipt of the NSW Department of Education Director General’s Award for Service to Public Education, North Coast Excellence in Teaching Award and The Duke of Edinburgh Award Medal for his service to the program.
WORKSHOP: Developing and Celebrating Cultural Diversity in our Communities.
Education and understanding are the keys to accepting, embracing and celebrating the cultural diversity which we have in modern Australia. We will explore what this looks like and how communities can go about developing this. We will also look at how we can break down barriers in traditionally conservative communities, with many personal anecdotes and examples of how this has been achieved.
Using the successful “Rural Communities Multicultural Festival” and “Home Among The Gum Trees” programs as the starting point for discussion, Kevin and Lara will explore ways in which we can break down these barriers, develop understanding and celebration in ways which provide deep and genuine benefit for all involved. We will look at ways in which personal, face-to-face experiences can be established which open up these avenues for understanding whilst humanising often contentious media and wider community issues relating to refugees, migrants and multi-culturalism.
Pillar 5 of the Australia Remade Vision – A Diversity of People Living Side by Side, proposes a vision for the future which would see us welcoming and celebrating migrants and refugees, assisting people to become part of our communities and culture. What could this look like in your community? How can you drive the change needed to make this happen?