At a launch event on Tuesday attended by Sharks officials, local politicians, business people, representatives from Sutherland Shire Family Services (SSFS), students and teachers, it was announced that Sharks Have Heart, the community arm of the Cronulla Sharks, had entered into a partnership with Love Bites, a program delivering respectful relationship education in local Sutherland Shire High Schools
Developed by NAPCAN (National Association for Prevention of Child abuse and Neglect), the Love Bites program, fitting comfortably within the Sharks Have Heart social impact pillar, has consistently reached over 1,200 Year 10 students each year since it was launched in 2011.
As a part of the new arrangement, Sharks Have Heart and their platinum partner Capital Bluestone will help to fund a part time coordinator for the acclaimed school-based domestic and family violence, sexual assault and consent awareness education program.
Sharks Co-Captain Wade Graham has volunteered his time in becoming an ambassador for the program.
Love Bites has no ongoing Government funding and relies on community partnerships and as a result of the Sharks Have Heart support, numerous Shire High Schools will continue to have access to the program.
Sharks Have Heart General Manager George Nour was proud of the new association with SSFS and with Love Bites and in helping to make a positive contribution in the community.
“We are thrilled to be able to support Sutherland Shire Family Services continue to offer this valuable program to local schools” Nour said “It also gives as us an opportunity to further engage with our community by delivering positive messages on values that matter.”
In explaining Love Bites in simple terms, SSFS CEO Di Manns added;
“Love Bites works to deconstruct the myths that exist in the local community about domestic violence and sexual assault. The program was refreshed in line with community expectations in 2017, and the new program provides important messaging and education that is essential to helping young people grow and have respectful relationships,” she said.
Also announced at the event was the inaugural Love Bites Creative Arts Excellence Award, where participating schools can submit reflective creative works from either the Love Bites workshops or other classes throughout the year.
A gallery showcase event and presentation with prizes for students will occur later in the year, with the award to encourage students to reflect on the messages Love Bites raises.
A powerful video presentation, produced by students from Menai High School, was shown to the audience at the launch event.
Joining Ms Mann and Nour at the microphone in announcing the partnership was Rickard Cooke from NAPCAN and Love Bites program coordinator Amber Schacht.
Also, in the room were local MP’s Lee Evans and Eleni Petinos, Deputy Mayor Steve Simpson, Sharks CEO Barry Russell, Martin Kennedy from the Club’s Board of Directors and Richard Clarke, Marketing Manager of Capital Bluestone.
In line with this latest partnership, the Sharks thank Capital Bluestone for their continued support in enabling Sharks Have Heart to grow and to keep adding programs and initiatives to our foundation.
For more on Love Bites, go to the NAPCAN website – CLICK HERE
To learn more about Sutherland Shire Family Services and the work they do – CLICK HERE