By Shae Killey
For the last six weeks, smiles have been plastered on the faces of Indigenous kids all over Strathpine and Bray Park State Schools, as students have been given the opportunity to participate in the Learning Earning Active Places (LEAP) Into AFL program.
The LEAP program works with over 100 Indigenous students and works to bridge the gap by providing 15 scholarship opportunities to participants who not only show AFL potential – at school and Pine Rivers Junior AFC – but behave well and attend class.
Brisbane North AFL Development Coordinator James Nelis, co-ordinated LEAP for both schools and noticed considerable improvement in the performance of the Indigenous students throughout.
“Each week we had the same Indigenous mentors go to each school, these mentors really helped get through to the students and have noticed a considerable difference in the way they have applied themselves,” said Nelis.
“The scholarships LEAP offered weren’t 100% performance based, which really helped change the Indigenous students attitudes towards learning.”
At the end of the LEAP program, all participants – as well as players and families from local Auskick, club Auskick and the local community – are invited to the Indigenous Community Day on the 27th of March at Pine Rivers JAFC.
The Community Day will feature a free BBQ, presentation of scholarship winners, a game between LEAP participants from both schools, and will give everybody the opportunity to meet some special guests from the Brisbane lions Football Club
“We have never held an Indigenous Community Day before and it is extremely exciting not only for all the Indigenous participants, but for the Pine Rivers JAFC,” said Nelis.
The 36 participants from the program will also be invited to participate in the half-time AFL NAB Auskick action during AFL Indigenous round at the Gabba on May 25.