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Sharks Have Heart Newsletter - September 2019

Through its community arm Sharks Have Heart, the Sharks help, inspire, engage, educate and advance equality by supporting a variety of community programs. See the September newsletter which details the recent efforts of Sharks Have Heart and the initiatives and organisations it supports

 Sharks Have Heart held another successful all abilities Mega Jaws clinic this September, with Paul Gallen, Billy Magoulias and Jackson Ferris joining in on the day.  

Mega Jaws clinics are run as a partner program to the Sharks School Holiday Experience to ensure that our clinics are inclusive and accessible to everyone. Children with additional needs enjoy the tailored fun of the Mega Jaws clinics, building their social, fitness, coordination, teamwork and listening skills in a range of exciting and educational activities. All program activities are designed age-appropriately and with the development of the kids in mind.  

 Mega Jaws is facilitated by Sharks Have Heart Inclusivity Coordinator Jason Stanton. When asked what it means to the families and kids, Jason said the impact was undeniable. 

“Being involved with the Sharks is amazing for all these families because often with our children we can’t come to game day because the lights are too bright or the sounds are too loud and so often the families don’t get a chance to be involved.”

Sharks Have Heart run Mega Jaws to deliver on our core pillars of Inclusivity and Diversity and to ensure that rugby league is fun and accessible for everyone.

 The Sharks are pleased to pledge our continued support for several worthy community programs and initiatives as a part of the NSW Government and ClubsNSW ClubGRANTS program. Over $250,000 has been raised this year by participating clubs, with the Sharks contributing over $55,000 across five programmes.

ClubGRANTS participants donate a percentage of gaming revenue to community initiatives of their choice. Focus in 2019 centred on targeting alcohol and drug misuse, assisting families to escape domestic violence, youth engagement, alleviating social isolation and financial crisis, disability services and supporting ageing Australians in need.  

Sharks will continue to support the Make Bullying History Foundation and the School for Living as well as welcome new programmes such as Southern Community Welfare (SCW) and the Youth Insearch Foundation. Southern Community Welfare offers clinical and support services to those in need in the Sutherland Shire area. SCW uses an evidence based, accessible service model to help individuals and families overcome challenges.

The Youth Insearch Foundations ‘Changing Rooms’ programme will be offered to all Sutherland Shire JRL teams. ‘Changing Rooms’ aims to help the young players cope with life challenges and destigmatize mental illness. The programme provides support and encourages the players to reach out to their teammates, coaches and community in times of hardship.

 There was more to smile about for the home crowd than just the score board during the Sharks 42-16 win over the Warriors. With the support of the stadium behind them, the Engadine Dragons footy team of players with disabilities stole the show pre-match and at half time. 

Taking to the field for a friendly match against fellow Engadine Dragons players, the team whipped around the field scoring tries and having a ball, with some of the players giving Bronson Xerri a run for his money in the speed department. 

Cheering on from the stands were the players families, proud and excited to see their boys play their hearts out at Shark Park after training hard to prepare for the game. 

“It’s great for the wider community to have this awareness for inclusion for our boys with different abilities getting to do things that they enjoy” said one thrilled mum. 

Our referee on the day highlighted what the day meant to him ’I never got to play as a kid, with having special needs and medical problems so refereeing kids like that is a good thing’.

 Sharks Have Heart were proud to support One Mob Day at Endeavour High School this September, a day of celebration for young Indigenous students from the local Sutherland Shire area. 

Tradition and culture were at the heart of the days celebration, with fun activities including boomerang painting, traditional games and digeridoo and traditional dance performances. Other fun activities included touch footy, sensory tents, jumping castles and raffle prizes. One Mob Day also presented the chance to support these students by facilitating meetings with Aboriginal organisations.  

The kids all shared in a sausage sizzle before watching a presentation of ‘Animals of the Dreaming’ by Uncle Col Hardy OAM. Animals of the Dreaming is an engaging blend of Dreamtime storytelling and native Australian animals, an educative cultural celebration for students. 

Sharks Have Heart have an established relationship with the Indigenous community at Endeavour High School, working with the Clontarf Academy this year on programmes such as ‘Deadly Choices’. The Sharks are committed to supporting and implementing programmes to benefit local Indigenous students through their academic career as part of our dedication to diversity.

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.