Young Sharks star Ronaldo Mulitalo has made a huge impact on the field since debuting in the NRL in 2019 and now he is set to make a significant contribution away from it after being appointed as an ambassador for Stepping Stone House, the award winning organisation that transforms the lives of homeless youth in Sydney.
To kick off his ambassadorship Mulitalo has set up a new social media campaign inspired by the successful ‘Run 5, Donate 5, Nominate 5’ initiative in the UK, one that has the backing of his Sharks teammates and is aimed at helping to raise funds to provide care for some of Australia’s most vulnerable kids.
“I have been spending time with some amazing homeless kids over the last couple of years and they are doing it very tough during Covid-19 and when I saw the news that youth homelessness is up 50 per cent because of these issues, it really hit home. I want to do something to help,” Mulitalo said.
Hence comes the campaign labelled ‘Give 5, Get 5’, with Mulitalo committed to donating $5 every day for the next 25 days, while nominating some Sharks teammates including Wade Graham, Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson, Toby Rudolf, Royce Hunt and Braydon Trindall to jump on board.
As a part of the campaign all are encouraged to donate as little as $5 to Stepping Stone House in assisting their efforts to better the lives of homeless youth, then tagging five mates to do the same.
“It would be fantastic if Sharks members and fans could support the cause as well, if they could donate $5 or whatever amount they can afford, then nominate 5 of their friends to do the same. Stepping Stone House is a wonderful organisation, one close to my heart and I’d love to see them have the resources to continue their great work,” he said.
“We can all be a part of helping to save a kids life by keeping them off the streets.”
Mulitalo’s motivation to become involved came as a result of a very tough personal upbringing, his family living in a double garage for some of his childhood, their limited possessions on occasion stolen from beside them while they slept.
His mother has always been his guiding light and the leader of the family, her strong work ethic leaving a lasting impression and as a Stepping Stone House ambassador he wants to impart that same drive and hope in some youngsters battling difficult circumstances.
Such life experiences have given Mulitalo a personal connection with the challenges faced by the young people that Stepping Stone House supports.
“I love the work of Stepping Stone House. No-one deserves our support more,” Mulitalo said.
This award-winning charity gives displaced young people a safe home with educational and employment opportunities.
Youth homelessness is an issue in need of attention, with 43,000 children and youth currently homeless as well as 47,000 who are in care. One in three people experiencing homelessness in Australia is under 25 and 70 per cent of those who leave home do so because of domestic violence, with the additional stress of isolation and COVID-19 adding to the numbers and issues being faced.
Stepping Stone House supports these young people well beyond the age at which normal funding cuts off. They actively care for people aged 14 to 24 years old—and the care is life changing – with 33 percent of Stepping Stone House graduates completing tertiary education, compared with just two percent of those in state foster care.
Further to the work they do, 100 per cent of Stepping Stone graduates have somewhere permanent to call home at the age of 19 and all are employed by the time they leave the program.
Mulitalo saw becoming an ambassador for Stepping Stone House as an ideal way for him to use his position and profile to connect directly with disadvantaged young people in Australia, helping them to aim high in life and to show that hard beginnings can be overcome.
He hopes to raise $10,000 for Stepping Stone House through #give5get5. The website (https://steppingstonehouse.com.au/donate-now/) for #give5get5 will include a variety of donation options, so everyone with as little as $5 can join in. Or to find out more about Stepping Stone House, the work they do and services they provide, CLICK HERE to see their website.
Through Mulitalo’s efforts the #give5get5 campaign has the potential to really take off, and with Sharks flyer Ronaldo and many of his teammates behind it, this is exactly what a post-COVID Australia needs as Stepping Stone House continues its quest to keep young people safe and to see them achieve their dreams.