Footys4All Foundation : Ross Faulkner & Son transform Elcho Island

Footys4All Red Dirt

To whom it may concern,

Parade College student Jack Faulkner recently volunteered to be part of the Footys4All Foundation trip to Elcho Island. He accompanied myself and another Footys4All Foundation volunteer to one of Australia’s remotest indigenous communities on an island 250 km North East of Darwin called Elcho Island. Jack flew by commercial plane from Melbourne to Darwin and then caught a charter plane from Darwin to Elcho Island via the community of Maningrida. It took us a total of 7 hours flying time to reach our destination.

The Footys4All Foundation is a volunteer children’s sporting foundation that provides hope and a sporting opportunity to kids in need across Australia and around the world through the provision of a new ball of choice to each child. Jack was part of a Footys4All volunteer delegation of 3 that distributed 1,000 new Footys4All Ross Faulkner footballs to every indigenous child of Elcho Island.

The children of Elcho Island live in abject poverty with very little possessions to call their own apart from meagre clothing. They normally kick plastic soft drink bottles around as they have little money for material goods and with the local shop selling a small football for $30 it is way out of their reach anyway. The school feeds the children and many have numerous diseases due to malnutrition and unhealthy living conditions.  660 litres of soft drink is consumed on the Island each day. The majority of their living conditions are below the poverty line.  It is a confronting island for a young man to be on.

 Footy4All Kids

On arrival on Thursday to Elcho Island, Jack happily firstly engaged with myself, school representatives and Footys4All volunteer Hayden on blowing up 1,000 footballs in a small room for over 3 hours in 35 degrees heat and 80% humidity.

Footys4All Family

 On Friday we engaged with the whole of Elcho Island’s main school Shepherdson’s College school, which has Primary to Year 12 students. Sherperdson’s College leading teacher Adam Bester organised with Jack and Footys4All volunteers a whole 800 student football clinic.  There were 10 football drill stations set up and the 3 levels of the school were rotated through in primary, middle and upper groups. From 9am – 1pm with a 30min lunch break in between on the main oval without shade.  Again in blazing sun 35 degrees 80% humidity Jack ran a variety of drills with the children in an enthusiastic and engaging way, way beyond his younger age and experience would normally dictate.

Footys4All Handball

 Footys4All Oval

From 1pm-2pm Jack and Adam actively setup the whole school assembly, which involved the distribution of the 800 footballs to the children across P-12. He also spoke on behalf of his father Ross, who donated the $10,000 worth of footballs, and the Footys4all Foundation. He thanked the school for having us and gave the principal a Footys4All football present to thank him for allowing us to engage with his school and its students and staff. Jack then helped distribute the 800 footballs to the very excited school children.

 Footys4All Footys

Footys4All Assembly

Footys4All Speaking

After the school day finished we ventured up to the Football oval to watch the local Sydney team play the Cats. With the oval awash with new red footballs Jack actively played kick to kick, umpired and provided his body as a specky ladder for the excited Elcho Island children. His ability to be a part of these children’s lives in such a positive way was heart warming and a joy to see.

Footys4All Mark

On Saturday and Sunday we were lucky to become part of the community by participating in some deep-sea fishing and fresh water creek fishing. Jack caught his first giant trevally and learnt about the natural environment that was teeming with turtles, whales and fish. The big mining companies are planning to begin testing for natural gas deposits with the intention of taking this resource from the ground in large quantities thus destroying the natural untouched habitat of the area.

On Monday we said goodbye to our new friends and happy children who thanks to young Jack’s involvement now were kicking around their own footballs rather than the plastic soft drink bottles that littered the island.

Footys4All Sitting

Footys4All Men

I write to you to commend the courage and willingness to make a positive change in the world that young Jack Faulkner displayed on this trip to Elcho Island. It takes fortitude and foresight for a young man to choose to volunteer to be involved in changing the status quo of a community for the better’ so many thousands of kilometres away from his hometown and environment. It is rare that young men of 17 spend that time worrying about others and even more rare attempting to do something about it. Jack is indeed a credit to his parents and family who have instilled these values into his home environment.

Schools are places where young people spend the majority of their lives and the school’s influence on shaping personalities and behaviours cannot be discounted. The empathy, enthusiasm for making a change and engagement of Jack with these children also demonstrated the positive role modelling and values taught to all at Parade College. Through my role as a teacher at Penleigh and Essendon Grammar and as the founding director of the Footys4All Foundation over the last 2 years – distributing hope and a sporting opportunity to disadvantaged children across all parts of Australia – I have seen how schools and positive role models are so important in influencing the lives of young people. Parade College is obviously one of these amazing educational institutions, as a young man like Jack Faulkner doing so much for so many children on Elcho Island does not happen by accident. It takes a wanting that has to be demonstrated through family, school and life environments.

Jack Faulkner is a credit to himself, his family and his school of Parade College and I look forward to his continued volunteer involvement with the Footys4All foundation, as he is an example to all young people that the world can be changed for the better with a small amount of effort.

Regards,

Michael Gallus

Founding Director

Footys4All Foundation

 

Contact:

Michael@Footys4all.com.au 

0413025507

 

Comments

  1. What a fabulous way to end the week. Thanks Michael. And well done Jack. What an experience!

  2. Great yarn. Great work all. After ‘giving’ them the worst of our culture – grog, VD, sugary processed food – it is great to be making amends with the best of our culture – FOOTY.
    Carlton supporters take heart – there are Australians worse off than you today.
    “I felt sorry for a man I met with no shoes, until I met a man with no legs.”

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Well done all round.

    Mickey Randall – this is spooky

  4. E.regnans says:

    Brilliant.
    Challenging conditions.
    Challenging journey.
    And that’s just for the visitors.

    Well played, all.

  5. Love the red sea of footballs!
    and all the delighted smile on the face of the boy sitting on his footy.

    Absolutely brilliant and great work by all involved.

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