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 January-February 2020 newsletter which details the recent efforts of Sharks Have Heart and the initiatives and organisations it supports.
All hands-on deck in Bushfire Relief
The Sharks dove into action this Summer to support our Southern neighbours left devastated by the recent bush fire crisis. From collecting donations at training sessions to setting up a public appeal and getting hands on in the rebuilding effort. All proceeds from the Sharks Bushfire Appeal will go directly to affected sporting clubs in the region to rebuild integral facilities and replace lost goods. Many Sharks players donated deeply personal items such as Andrew Fifita’s 100th game ring, Shaun Johnson’s 2017 World Cup jersey and Bronson Xerri’s debut boots. Head Coach John Morris made good on his promise to take the entire NRL squad to Kangaroo Valley to lend a hand in the community, which has reportedly lost 57 homes. The squad’s visit aimed to lift the spirit of locals and ease some of the intimidating workload they face in rebuilding.
As many of our supporters will already know, Sharks front rower Fine Kula has been diagnosed with brain cancer. The Sharks are rallying behind the popular 21- year old Fine and his family as they face this uncertain battle, dedicating the recent NRL Nines campaign to him and wearing custom #FightforFine jerseys. The jerseys were signed by each player and auctioned off with all proceeds going to support the Kula family. Fundraising efforts will continue at the Sharks trial game against Manly on March 1st, with 100% of the entry fee’s collected going to Fine’s family. In addition, the Sharks are working with the Men of League Foundation to organise an event later in 2020 to provide more financial assistance for Fine’s treatment and recovery. Sharks fans are also encouraged to show their support by donating to the #FightforFine GoFundMe page.
CLICK HERE to make a donation
Graduating from School to Work
The award-winning School to Work program, supporting Indigenous Australians to complete secondary school and transition into higher education or employment, graduated another 49 students at the end of 2019. Andrew Fifita joined the graduation ceremony held at Sharks Academy Fields at Cronulla High School to congratulate the students on their great achievements as they now head off to tertiary studies, TAFE and the workforce. Tayla Kafoa leads the program, working with 80 students in the Shire in 2019. “It has been a tremendous year for all of our students and I could not be prouder of everything they have achieved,” said Kafoa. “I am definitely looking forward to seeing what they all achieve as they transition out of school and into the next phase of their journey.”
Sharks ‘blitz’ Shire schools
The entire NRL squad went back to school on February 5, visiting 34 local Sutherland Shire schools as part of the annual Sharks School Blitz. The players were there to catch up with the kids and talk about the importance of respect in schools, while aiming to build resilience in the students. While getting to know the young people in our local area, the squad encouraged students to get involved in their local junior league team and lead healthy, active lifestyles. It was a memorable day for teachers and students alike, meeting their favourite players and the even more popular Reefy, for high fives and selfies.
Swinging by ASPECT Kirrawee
Sharks players Jackson Ferris and Brandon Trindall visited ASPECT Kirrawee to sing songs, play games and hand out Sharks giveaways to the kids. ASPECT is Australia’s largest service provider for people on the autism spectrum, with the schools program being one of the largest in the world. Jackson and Brayden also handed out a newly published ‘social stories’ book developed by Skillz4Me which will not only encourage early stage reading for the kids but also improve their understanding of socially appropriate behaviour, skills and situations. The therapy-based books focus on getting the kids ready to play team sports outside with their peers.