The State Government, the mining industry and elite sporting clubs are helping North- West students gain life skills by literally kicking goals.
Premier Alan Carpenter today launched the Kicking Goals program for 2008-09, sponsored by BHP Billiton Iron Ore and supported by the West Coast Eagles and Swan Districts football clubs.
Mr Carpenter said the program was the biggest regionally-based Australian Football League (AFL) mentoring program and was the first of its kind in Australia.
“The program aims to enhance students’ life skills, school attendance, academic achievement, health and wellbeing, and reduce substance abuse,” he said.
“Students receive mentoring to stay engaged in school and meet their goals, combined with football activities such as coaching sessions and carnivals.
“A big highlight for students is the chance to play in a ‘curtain raiser’ match at West Coast Eagles home games at Subiaco Oval and stay for the main game.”
The Premier said the State Government was providing about $300,000 in-kind support to the program which went towards getting physical education teachers and Department of Sport and Recreation district officers out on the oval and mentoring talented children.
Kicking Goals has been piloted over three years at Hedland Senior High School and Newman Senior High School and is now being expanded to an outreach program for several Pilbara indigenous communities.
“There are now about 120 students in the program and it’s making a real difference by boosting the participation of students in community life,” Mr Carpenter said.
“Last year, students contributed more than 200 hours of community service through junior sports coaching, primary school reading programs, umpiring of town sports and helping non-profit organisations.”
Indigenous Affairs Minister Michelle Roberts said the Kicking Goals Program was providing positive experiences for young indigenous Western Australians.
“I am delighted the program is helping to improve school attendance rates and students are achieving better academic results,” Mrs Roberts said.
The Minister said she had supported the Swan Districts and West Coast Eagles football clubs for a long time, and the Kicking Goals program demonstrated the clubs’ commitment to the broader community.
“The Kicking Goals program is engaging young indigenous people and offering them a positive environment to develop academic, sporting and social skills,” she said.
“Everyone involved in the program should be commended for their work to help improve the lives of young indigenous people and their families.”
Premier’s office- 9222 9475 Office of the Minister for Indigenous Affairs - 9213 6600