In celebration of National Volunteers Week, AFL Queensland is taking the opportunity to recognise volunteers throughout the state who contribute countless hours to making our game.
At Jindalee, there is a particular person working tirelessly to create opportunities for kids with Autism and Cerebral Palsy to be engaged in regular activity through AFL.
In early 2020, Annette Foun started a program for kids with special needs to get out of the house to be active, visible, and part of the community.
Operating out of the Jindalee Jaguars, she facilitates a weekly session for children with Autism and Cerebral Palsy using footy as the foundation of their exercise and movement program. The sessions have been developed and design by an exercise physiologist to allow for the participants, with the assistance of their carers, to kick, handball and run with the ball.
Annette said she saw the need for a modified Auskick program when her youngest son started junior training at Jindalee on a Friday.
“My older son Doug, who has Autism, would be at training with me but unable to participate and I realised I needed a carer for him,” she said.
“I could either get a carer to sit at home and watch him play on an iPad or I could get them to come to the ground and throw the football around with Doug, so that’s how it started.
“My vision for it going forward is to get involved with a special school or NDIS service provider, so other participants can come and be involved.
“Parent’s and carers are always looking for valuable ways for their children to be involved in the community.
“We want it to be fun, vibrant and engaging with parachutes, big balls, colourful cones and soft footies. It’s as much fun as we can make it, but still trying to get some skills and drills behind them and build their capacity.“
Jindalee Jaguars President, Wayne Poole said Annette approached the club to see if we would be interested in helping set up a program for players of all abilities and they jumped at the opportunity.
“We are a very family focused club, anything we can do to include families and members of our community is something we are passionate about,” he said.
“The session is run on Friday night alongside other junior teams which is another way all participants can play and feel part of the club environment.
“Annette’s hard work has seen the program grow within a year from just her son participating to six at last Friday’s session.”
Annette’s efforts have not only been recognised by the AFL Queensland but also the Brisbane Lions who have named her as their Round 9 Community Champion.
Do you know someone in our community that is going above and beyond? Nominations are now open for the 2021 Toyota AFL National Volunteer Awards.
Click here to nominate a hard working volunteer at your club.
Nominations close 8th August 2021.