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They handed out drink bottles and flags, interacted with the children and took part in some of the games and activities, with a group of Sharks NRL stars almost having as much fun as the kids at Wednesday’s Skillz4Me Christmas event.

In continuing their support of SKillz4Me, the Sharks Have Heart-backed program for children on the Autism Spectrum or with additional needs, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Jesse Ramien, Jensen Taumoepeau and Franklin Pele, along with newcomers Jayden Berrell and Lachlan Miller got amongst the fun.

In also linking with last week’s International Day of People with Disability, the visit was a part of the Sharks Christmas Blitz, with members of the NRL playing group to drop by and spread some festive season cheer to other community organisations in the next week.

A program combining sport, fun and therapy, Skillz4Me sessions focus on building confidence, improving social skills, coordination and balance, stimulating neural pathways, eye tracking and concentration, all done in a healthy, safe and friendly environment.

Founded and conducted by Jason Stanton in partnership with his wife Sarah, Skillz4Me is a one-hour weekly session running over 40 weeks and attracting 10-30 families each week. The Skillz4Me sessions are at no cost to families.

Most children that attend cannot participate in mainstream sports and for many, the program is their only physical outlet for the week, offering a combination of therapy, fun and sports which is attended by children along with their parents or carers.

The objectives of the program are many, focusing on build confidence of the individual through social interaction and sport, reducing social isolation by creating a program inclusive of all ability levels provide respite and social support, while establishing a safe and positive environment to families.

Skillz4Me teaches basic sports skills, strengthens community connections, creating opportunities for kids to participate in activities they love. It also assists with occupational, behavioural and speech therapy outcomes.

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.