Jigalong children’s goals a lesson for all

BUYING your first car and owning a dream home are goals in life most of us take for granted. For kids in remote communities, they are often out of reach.

Jigalong Community in the Pilbara, about 165km east of Newman on the western edge of the Little Sandy Desert, is one such place. But it's a trend the local kids want to see change and some are making it their goal.

But there are no short cuts. Attending school regularly and trying to get the best education they can is the answer.

Kicks 4 Kidz director Rod Willet visited Jigalong School last month and noted a progression in attitude and school attendance.

"We ran workshops on health, nutrition and diabetes awareness with the promise of leaving a huge bag of football and netball equipment," Willet said.

"You can see the students have small dreams in their eyes that they hope become big dreams they can not only chase but realise."

Hawthorn premiership player and now a regular with Perth in the WAFL, Chance Bateman, helped to run the workshops as ambassador of The Sunday Times-sponsored Kicks 4 Kidz program. Bateman told the kids his story of growing up as a teenager in York and the sacrifices he had to make to become an AFL player.

"I never missed a school day," Chance told the kids. "Be the best you can be and stay away from drugs and alcohol."

The students win food vouchers which are normally shared with their brothers and sisters.

"We make sure it goes away with the healthy message but when they hear it from Chance it makes a huge difference," he said.

"The school has introduced sport everyday, so the kids were pretty keen to show us their football skills. Some of the teachers have recently enrolled in the AFL Schools Ambassadors Program and are learning more about the skills of the game, which is great for both parties."

The K4K program is sponsored by Ngarda, The Sunday Times, Steinepreis Paganin, Garnduwa, Grace Removals, 6PR, and supported by WAFC, Netball WA, Visy Specialists, Print Publishing and Octane Web Solutions.


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