Footys4all: a terrific way of getting kids involved in sport

Recently the Almanac has become involved with a fantastic foundation: Footys4all. It is the idea of Michael Gallus who is a beaut bloke. He is married to Amanda and they have a young family.

A schoolteacher, Michael is a classic idealist who has total commitment to his belief that education and sport are elemental to kids’ development. He believes all kids should have opportunities and, where they are denied opportunities, he is doing something about it.

I first met Michael when he was calling footy for NIRS (National Indigenous Radio Service) and I was a regular for quite a few years  on their Friday-night pre-match with a segment called ‘From the Pub’ (because that’s where I was, although we had to call beer, ‘lemonade’). They were the days when you didn’t have to worry about the Essendon scandal.

Michael and I stayed in contact and I have followed the emergence of Footys4all with tremendous enthusiasm, offering copies of The Footy Almanac for Michael to give to sponsors and participants and supporters as thank-yous. [To help provide these books to Michael, please see the note at the end of this post].

Everyone who sees how this not-for-profit foundation works has been mightily impressed and the support from businesses and organisations has started to kick in. Initially off his own bat, and more recently with the support of some sporting goods manufacturers, Michael has given away 2500 footballs (all codes) to disadvantaged kids, clubs, and organisations. It’s the kids who are benefiting most.

The Almanac and Footys4all have planned a literacy component in the activities where kids are encouraged to read, and to write their own stories which will be published on our site.

Michael is to be congratulated on his project and we will do what we can to help. You will find a link to the Footys4all at the conclusion of this post.

Here are some words from Michael:

I was born in Fiji to Australian parents of German descent who were teaching there at the time. They returned to Australia when I was two.

I grew up in the (then) small town of Sunbury in the north-western suburbs of Melbourne. I attended Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School and played local football with Riddell’s Creek in the RDFL while also playing school football for PEGS. I played one senior game for Riddell under former Melbourne player-coach Dean Chiron. The game was against the Kilmore led Wayne Harms side and while I held my own in our 77 point win I was dropped the next week and falied to break back into the senior side which went on to win the RDFL Grand Final.

I studied teaching at Melbourne University where I met my beautiful wife Amanda and continued playing community football until I broke my ankle which ended my footy career. My passion for football ran deep with my affiliation with Carlton.

Amanda and I got married and I began teaching at PEGS in the primary school I had just left not so many years before.

I began my football media career as a stats man with Inner FM covering B grade amatuer football. I became a commentator the next year and then moved onto calling VFL games for their internal videos. An opportunity to boundary ride with K-Rock eventuated which then led to me calling AFL games with the great Barry Denner at the NIRS and on K-Rock. My excited and racing style of commentary was never going to get me far and after a few years in the game I took an opportunity to become a part-time recruiter with the Brisbane Lions. After two seasons of learning what football was really all about under the tutleage of the under-rated yet extremely insightful head of recruiting Graeme Hadley saw me begin my community coaching career.

With Thomas, Lily and Benjamin who are my three beautiful children growing up so fast it was time to put all my football and educational experience into practice. I took on the job of the Aberfeldie Auskick coordinator with 150 kids and 20 coaches for my young son Ben and and began coaching the U14 Aberfeldie Div 6 EDFL   side of my oldest son Thomas. I also helped run occasional training sessions with my daughter Lily’s Aberfeldie basketball team where time permitted.

I am proud to say my coaching career yeilded Thomas a premiership after a successful season of only losing one game. Son Ben’s Auskick grew to 175 children and 30 coaches and is where I am still the coordinator.

It was at Aberfeldie Auskick sixteen months ago that the Footys4all foundation idea was created due to the generosity of Michael Egan from the Egans Group.  I took stock of my life at the age of 41 and thought the time had come to grow up and to make a positive change to the world in some way revolving around sport and education. I new that supplying a new ball to a disadvantaged child would enable him/her to have a sporting opportunity and hope that myself, my own children and the students I have taught took for granted a lot of the time. Such a simple idea can have such life changing effects.

I am looking forward to developing the idea further.

**

I am sure we will hear a lot more of Michael Gallus.

To contribute to Footys4all – by paying (cost price) for some Footy Almanacs – or to discuss how you can help more directly, contact us here at The Footy Almanac for more details.

footys

About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and footyalmanac.com.au He has written many columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted j.t.h@footyalmanac.com.au He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo9, Anna8, Evie6. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.

Comments

  1. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Sounds like a wonderful initiative Harmsy. Would like to find out more and help inspire the kids to read, write and play.

  2. My name is Ben and I am 7 years old I have been helping to deliver new balls to indigenous, disabled and kids overseas. Footys4all is good because it is giving indigenous and disabled and overseas kids a chance to play with footies, rugby balls, soccer balls and basketballs and net balls. It is good that kids play with balls as otherwise they have nothing to do and they sit down and they get bored.

  3. Dear Footys4all,

    The world can be a highly complex place to be, or very simple. Most people live at some point in between. In an almost ironic twist, it is the complexities of life which add greater power and enjoyment to the simpler times.

    Something as abstract as my opening sentence probably needs a realistic example to have it make sense. So I’ll try this. I do spend a great deal of time volunteering my services to Australian Rules football. There are times when I overdo it and my day to day life can become a tangled web of responsibilities and clashing demands. But that whole scenario is made worthwhile when I see a kid smile when he receives a new footy. The joy of them bouncing, kicking or handpassing it for the first time. No amount of complexity can match the simplicity of that smile.

    Your foundation has given myself and my club a new level of involvement with those kids. It is fair to say that all 100 donated footballs currently sit in my house waiting to be distributed. The real joy may not have started yet. But already the anticipation of taking these footballs to kids in remote communities across North Queensland and Cape York is building. I can already visualise the smiles. The laughter. The unbridled enthusiasm.

    I am very proud to be an ambassador for the Footys4all foundation. I am also humbled by the response to your foundation’s work. Politicians, sports people, artists and business people from the highest levels are right behind you. As are the “ordinary folk” who may never receive personal accolades, but work equally as hard to give what they can and try to make a small difference.

    The past few days have seen the media go into inter-stellar overdrive, pushing any amount of negative stories. Stories which make one question the value of a football. Then, along comes Footys4all, and the simple joy of a kid and his ball returns.

    Thank You.

    Wesley Hull.

  4. The Shaw Family says:

    We were introduced to Footys4all when it was just an ide. We have followed it’s progress intently and have been amazed at the wonderful pictures of beaming children with their new balls. What a difference a simple idea and one new ball can make to one child’s world. A dream can become reality if you work hard enough at it! Michael, his family, and supporters believe in the dream, giving opportunities to children from all walks of life. Well done and congratulations on your efforts to date!

  5. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Interesting Read and Fascinating Concept would like more details seems like a Great idea which I will dices re Ad Uni FC

  6. The Footys4all foundation is by the people for the children.
    Appreciate everyone’s positive comments and thank you for them.
    Phillip, Malcolm I would be more than happy to speak with you re your interest in the foundation. My name is Michael Gallus and I am the founding director and I can be contacted at michael@footys4all.com.au. Our full story can be found on the Footys4all facebook, twitter or instagram sites or a http://www.footys4al.com.au
    Look forward to hearing from you and any and all other interested parties in the near future.
    Footys4all-It is not rocket science just Footys4all!

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