AFL kicks community goals

June 19, 2015 by Ayal Tusia
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Residents of The Manders Villas, Melbourne’s Jewish Care’s independent living units for people with disability, experienced a day at the football courtesy of the AFL and the Collingwood Football Club.



The Australia Post AFL Multicultural Program has been established to ensure Australian football is a vehicle that encourages community strengthening and inclusion within the wider Australian community. There are 120 ambassadors in the program, 99 were born overseas, and collectively they speak 100 languages!

Two of the Program’s Community Ambassadors and brothers, Joel and Ryan Kuperholz liaised with Jewish Care social worker Yoheved Epstein to invite any clients of the organisation who lacked the opportunity to attend the football or anyone who hadn’t experienced it before.

The offer was gladly accepted by five residents from The Manders Villas and a newly arrived Russian family to experience a special behind-the-scenes tour of Collingwood’s Westpac Centre. This was followed by an uninterrupted experience watching Collingwood play Greater Western Sydney in seats behind the Collingwood cheer squad.


In the gym

“It was a really wonderful experience to take this group to the football. Seeing their angst over a tricky play, their constant encouragement to umpires on what they should be calling and their advice to the coaches was a constant commentary,” said Joel.

The Program aims to encourage community involvement by drawing on the contacts of every AFL ambassador to make AFL accessible to everyone.

“We are lucky enough to be partnered with Collingwood Football Club, and our community liaison officer Tim Hunt is incredibly generous and supportive,” Ryan enthused.

“Tim gave us access to the Westpac Centre and allowed us to invite our guests for a tour where he explained all the training and facilities to them, put on lunch and walked us over to the MCG for the game against Greater Western Sydney.”

From all reports the group had twice as much fun as anyone else in the crowd as they clapped and cheered every time either team scored.

Ryan added that it was a particularly gratifying experience to see the group greet each experience with unbridled joy and were happy to try the equipment and have a kick of the footy. Joel and Ryan definitely intend to visit their new friends at The Manders Villas for more kick to kick!


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