Netball Australia and Dare to Dream program launch No School No Play initiative
Friday, April 8, 2011
By Netball Australia
Netball Australia, in conjunction with the David Wirrpanda Foundation, has launched the No School No Play netball program at the Worawa Aboriginal College, with the goal of encouraging a better education amongst indigenous youths.
A government initiative aimed towards improving school attendance and student achievement, netball’s partnership with Wirrpanda’s Dare to Dream program will help to deliver the message.
Netball Australia will deliver the program with the assistance of high performance netball players at the indigenous all-girls school at Healesville along with four other schools around the country.
At the end of the 20 week program, girls who have improved their school attendance and engagement will compete in specially convened netball carnivals and be invited to a Holden Netball Test Series match to see the Australian Diamonds in action.
“The No School No Play program, along with the elite netballers delivering the program, is very important,” said Wirrpanda.
“To give students this wonderful opportunity and hopefully inspire them to have other options in life is very important along with the ongoing mentoring with the netballers is priceless.
“I wish I had (the mentoring) when I was going to school because it gives you stability; someone who you can depend on, and it also gives you hope.”
For the former West Coast Eagles premiership player, the partnership with Netball Australia provided the perfect opportunity to give back to the school where he grew up and first picked up a football.
“It makes my day because I’ve always wanted to come back here and help put a program like this in place,” Wirrpanda said.
“School clinics and an education is our first priority and then we offer the rewards based program such as taking them to netball games where they get to see their mentors play.
“It’s another way of working directly with the teachers and also utilises the resources at Worawa to have a big impact.”
For Dare to Dream mentor and West Coast Fever player, Josie Janz, the chance to get involved in the program, share stories and help educate girls is an exciting opportunity.
“We like to come to these programs and see ourselves more like a big sister so we can have real, down to earth conversations,” Janz said at the launch.
“We speak a little bit about netball but it’s more about what we do outside of our sport and we can also relate the challenges we face in netball to school issues the students may face.”
“For us mentoring, we aim to be good role models.”
Janz believes the program can have a big effect on the students’ future, improving alcohol, drug and sexual health awareness among teenagers.
“When there’s not much in the way of goals or direction, that’s when girls can fall down by the different influences.”
While known for his success in the AFL, many would be surprised to hear that Wirrpanda’s achievements extend to the court at center or wing defence.
“I played mixed netball down the road at Healesville and won the premiership in 1993 so I’m half decent,” Wirrpanda laughed.
The 2011 program will target 100 students in the five following schools:
Western Australia: South Fremantle Senior High School and Swan View Senior High School
Victoria: Worawa Aboriginal College
New South Wales: Karabar High School and Doonside Technology High School