Lena Jean Charles is a proud Yorta Yorta/Gunai Kurnai woman from Mooroopna, Victoria. She's been living in Melbourne on Wurundjeri Country for the last ten or so years. Lena Jean Charles yarns with Gman about Clothing the Gaps Foundation. The Clothing The Gaps Foundation is an independent Aboriginal-led not for profit run by Public Health practitioners. We exist to get Aboriginal people and Communities moving so that years are added to Aboriginal people’s lives. Why do we do this? Currently the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-indigenous people in Australia is still too large. We know physical activity is important because positive lifestyle habits play a key role in achieving and maintaining health and wellbeing. Healthy habits such as being active reduces the risk of heart disease, some cancers and type two diabetes. It strengthens muscles and bones, helps to maintain body weight and can reduce symptoms of depression. Getting moving also creates opportunity to connect with Community and Country.
Body, mind, spirit and Country...it’s all connected, Aboriginal people have known this for tens of thousands of years. We believe in self-determination in health because Aboriginal Community knows Aboriginal Community issues, opportunities and challenges best. How do we do this? We aim to increase Aboriginal physical activity participation in Clothing The Gaps fun runs by supporting Aboriginal Organisations and groups to use the event to run their own Community initiatives and get moving in their own way. We understand the challenges of health promotion and see many individuals championing positive health in Community Organisations and groups across the country. It’s a tough gig on your own! Our health promotion team have done the heavy lifting in creating an event toolkit as a resource that supports grassroots workers and local legends to run a great Community based movement event. We create the opportunity, Community self-determine what this looks likes.
Aboriginal owned and led street wear label Clothing The Gaps is proud to operate as a social enterprise and commits a majority of its profits to the Clothing The Gaps Foundation. As an independent not for profit, the Clothing The Gaps Foundation is supported by not only the sales of merch through the label, but by donations and other independent funders .If you’d like to support the Foundation contact us at
Lena Jean Charles is Head of Impact. I work alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Organisations and Community Groups to provide resources and spaces for mob to celebrate and participate in events that encourages movement.
In 2016 I graduated with a Masters in Public Health from the University of Melbourne specialising in Aboriginal Health. Since graduating, I have immersed myself in various Aboriginal organisations and have worked across a number of projects and programs including: Involvement in the Yorta Yorta Traditional Owners Land Management Board Tackling Indigenous Smoking programs Lead facilitator in the Coach Early learning Years program Facilitation in the Wellah Walks to Kokoda - Aboriginal Youth Leadership and Resilience program Lead facilitator in the Wellah Women program - Aboriginal Women’s Health and Happiness Project
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