BLUES IN THE COMMUNITY
At the Waverley Blues we recognize our strong influence to the local community, and influence our Club can have on all players, coaches, officials and volunteers. Outside of football and netball, we offer various programs and opportunities for our players, coaches and volunteers to learn about life outside of the footy and netball grounds, to help better themselves and the wider Community. If your business or program would like to work with our Club, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Current programs include:
- Our Annual Community Social Responsibility Night (see below)
- Training work shops around gambling, drugs and alcohol
- Working bees at local social service organisations. (see below example of our Senior team helping at the Oakleigh Centre, who help those with mental disabilities)
- AFL International Cup 2017 Host Venue - in August 2017 we hosted the New Zealand vs Canada mens game as part of the IC17. It was our biggest ever home game crowd and included our normal home games against Knox FC. Canada also trained with our team on Thursday night and joined us for team selection and dinners.
When the going gets tough…
The Waverley Blues Football club held our second Community Social Responsibility (CSR) evening at Wesley’s Cato Hall on Wednesday 26th July. 1 in 4 young Australians aged 16 to 24 is living with mental disorder! For this reason Waverley Blues formed a partnership with Australia’s premier youth mental health service headspace to deliver an evening aimed to inform, empower and inspire. An invitation was extended to local schools and sporting clubs as the Blues aim to make this an event for the community to share.
Kirsten Cleland (headspace Social Worker) presented on warning signs of mental illness. Key things to look out for include: poor sleep; change in appetite; withdrawing from previously enjoyed activities; social isolation and negative thinking (e.g. “I’m useless”). We all have bad days, but if these problems continue for more than a fortnight then you need to seek help from your GP or a specialist agency such as headspace.
Our special guest speaker Nick Pearce (2017 Victorian Young Achiever of the Year and founder of HoMie) had a conversation with Dr Sarah Davenport (headspace Clinical Psychologist) in which he described his battles with mental illness. Nick told a powerful story of the strength and support he received from friends, family and his football club. Nick’s journey was an inspiring example of a young person battling adversity with the support of his family and friends to then forge on to achieve great things to help others in his community. Through his organisation HoMie Nick is now providing pathways out of homelessness for young people – he also sells some pretty cool HoMie streetwear and profits from these sales go back into supporting homeless people of Melbourne.
We learnt that young people are often reluctant to seek help and may not even recognise there is a problem. Deb and Pru (headspace Family and Youth Support Workers) gave compelling personal accounts which emphasized the importance of just being there and listening – rather than trying to “fix” the problem. The simple act of checking in by asking “RUOK” can make a real difference. They also spoke of the courage needed to seek help for a young person when they are struggling with depression or anxiety. Michael Lafferty (Year 9 Coordinator, Emmaus College) explained that being a true friend sometimes means you have to tell an adult even when your friend asked you to promise not to. Michael also explained how teachers and schools can actively work to identify and seek support for young people who are struggling with mental health issues.
The night ended with a Q&A style panel where the audience was able to ask some tough and insightful questions. After the event headspace staff generously made themselves available to discuss any issues that may have come up over a cuppa and a biscuit.
WBFC is tremendously proud of the quality of the event and grateful to headspace and all our guest speakers who made the evening a success. Keep a look out for our next CSR in 2019 when again the local community will be welcome to share an evening that will confront tough issues that are affecting our young people.
Our Club’s Community Social Responsibility Evenings are an integral component of the Waverley Blues Junior Academy Program. A development program not only for the benefit of our club, players, coaches and families but also the broader Monash Community.
Luke Delaney, Junior Coaching Coordinator, WBFC