It started as an informal program to mentor Indigenous students to help them complete their education.
Today almost 40,000 kids have have gone through the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) program in four countries, with advanced plans to expand into the United States this year.
AIME founder and CEO Jack Manning Bancroft is also proud that over 10,000 university students have volunteered in the program, making it the "biggest volunteer movement of university students in Australian history".
More importantly, AIME has lifted the aspirations and beliefs of over tens of thousands of Aboriginal students. It is truly a phenomenon.Professor Paul Chandler
Mr Manning Bancroft isn't surprised that the organisation he founded in Sydney as a teenager in 2005, continues to improve educational opportunity and outcomes for Indigenous students.
But he is thankful the University of Wollongong took a chance on AIME - which pairs university students with high school students, as mentor and mentee, to help end the cycle of disadvantage that faces Indigenous communities.
"Wollongong was the first program we had outside of Sydney and since then it has scaled to be right across the world," Mr Manning Bancroft said.
"If Wollongong University and Paul Chandler and the high school principals at the beginning and Jack Trengove, who led it for us ...if they didn't say yes then AIME just doesn't get the breath of life to be where we are today."
On Thursday night UOW recognised the groundbreaking organisation for its outstanding contribution to the lives of young Indigenous Australians, and bestowed its prestigious Community Fellowship Award on AIME.
Chancellor Jillian Broadbent said AIME was an organisation that had truly made a tangible impact on the lives of students throughout the world, helping to end the cycle of disadvantage.
"On behalf of the Council of the University of Wollongong, I congratulate AIME on their extraordinary contribution and leadership in closing the educational gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students," Ms Broadbent said.
"AIME's impact has been profound and far-reaching; they have helped thousands of Indigenous students to believe in themselves and put them on the path to achieving their dreams.
"The Community Fellowship Award is the highest honour the University of Wollongong can bestow and AIME is an incredibly deserving recipient."
Professor Paul Chandler, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Inclusion and Outreach) at UOW and AIME's founding national director said it was a pleasure and a privilege to watch the organisation grow over 14 years, from its beginnings as a small initiative in Sydney to an innovative mentoring experience.
"The results of this uplifting, fun program have been phenomenal and beyond all expectations," Professor Chandler said.
"Since AIME was introduced, the percentage of Aboriginal students leaving high school has risen dramatically to the same rate as their non-Aboriginal peers, at 93 per cent. That compares with a national average of 58 per cent for non-AIME schools.
"More importantly, AIME has lifted the aspirations and beliefs of over tens of thousands of Aboriginal students. It is truly a phenomenon."
Mr Manning Bancroft said the model was about showing Indigenous youth that they had mentors who saw what they were going through, listened to what they had to say, and believed in where they could go.
"Education is imagination. Imagining new worlds, imagining new ways, and then being bold enough to start building before the sketch is finished. That's what we've done together. We've shown that there are no limits to change, no age barriers, just the bravery to shout down the inner voice of shame, and to act," Mr Manning Bancroft said.
"I can't wait to keep imagining what's possible with UOW well into the future as we build a world fit for all children in the 21st century."