The Activities Program promotes school achievement and attendance, healthy living and sociable behaviour by encouraging children to participate in sport and recreational activities. The program also works with children on Palm Island who do not regularly attend school, re-engaging with them through sport and encouraging them back into the school system
In October 2011, the Queensland Department of Communities published a case study highlighting the CFF Netball Challenge as a program that showed great community outcomes and engagement.
Since the program began in July 2009, it has successfully attracted over 500 Palm Island children to partake in its sports and recreation activities. Students from both Palm Island schools regularly take part in the program, and it has strong support of both school principals and staff.
After school rugby coach, Mickeal, is a role model to the students of Palm Island. Click on the image above to view a video of the CFF After School Rugby program.
The Cathy Freeman Foundation works in partnership with the community and Palm Island schools - Bwgcolman Community School and St Michael's Catholic School - to tackle truancy and has been successfully doing this through the Starting Block Program. The Starting Block Program encourages students to achieve at school and strive for personal goals by giving recognition to those who demonstrate academic progress, a positive attitude, good behaviour and frequent attendance. Children who excel and achieve academically in the Starting Block Program are rewarded through the Activities Program.
There are currently five components of the Activities program and these are open to all youth on Palm Island:
- After School Netball Competition
- Cathy Freeman Foundation Netball Challenge
- Netball Training Clinics
- Martial Arts and Emotional Awareness Program
- Boxing tournaments
"The children have embraced the netball competition; they run to the court to get there on time. They all love the competition and can't wait for the weekly games." Daphne, Cathy Freeman Foundation Programs Coordinator.
The Activities Program exists to provide the youth of Palm Island with regular structured sporting and recreational activities and to encourage school attendance. Outside of the school environment these activities are limited. The program also involves the broader community, encouraging their participation and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Activities such as the Netball Challenge help to develop links between mainland Australia and Palm Island and benefit school students by broadening their friendship networks and life experiences. In addition, there are also obvious health and social benefits to participating in activities that require fitness, teamwork and discipline.