July 23, 2008

Footy program to kick educational goals in Kwinana and the South-West

A new football academy in WA, which aims to keep Indigenous boys at school until the end of year 12, has been be launched in Kwinana today - thanks to a new partnership between the Alcoa Foundation and the Clontarf Foundation.

Alcoa of Australia, through the Alcoa Foundation, has contributed US$300,000 to help launch the new football program which will enhance the life skills, health, wellbeing and educational prospects of young Aboriginal male students. 
The Clontarf Foundation uses sport, physical activity and mentoring to run football academies in partnership with secondary schools, with the aim of attracting and retaining Indigenous teenagers to school.
The Alcoa Foundation’s contribution will enable the new football academy to be opened at Gilmore College in Kwinana, in addition to aiding the expansion of the existing south west academy, creating opportunities for more boys from Bunbury, Collie, Harvey and Pinjarra to join the already flourishing football program.
Alcoa’s Managing Director Alan Cransberg officially launched the partnership this morning immediately following a football training session, in which he participated.  Mr Cransberg played for the Swan Districts Football Club in the Western Australian Football League in the late 1970s and early 80s and sits on the board of the West Coast Eagles.
Mr Cransberg said Alcoa was acutely aware of the challenges Indigenous youth face, and that the company sees its partnership with the Clontarf Foundation as an important way to help provide positive experiences for young Indigenous Western Australians.
“Alcoa is a company that invests in people and we seek out opportunities to make a difference in the community.  Partnering with a great, innovative organisation like Clontarf should make a genuine impact on these kids’ lives,” he said.
“It’s not just about football - it’s about developing academic and social skills that will help them during their lifetime.”
Alan White, General Manager of Communications at Clontarf, said the organisation was extremely excited about the new partnership with Alcoa.
“Clontarf is committed to the welfare of Indigenous youth and to developing the attributes of self-worth, confidence and discipline, and we are looking forward to working with Alcoa to make a difference to the lives of young Indigenous people and their families,” he said.
“With the support of corporate sponsors such as Alcoa, we have been able to engage over 1,500 Indigenous young men in our programs and we are totally focused on having the boys in our program complete year 12 and gain meaningful workplace outcomes.”
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About the Alcoa Foundation
The Alcoa Foundation is a non-for-profit U.S. corporate foundation.  Its mission is to actively invest in the quality of life in Alcoa communities worldwide, combining funding with hands-on support from our active employee volunteers.
About the Clontarf Foundation
The Clontarf Football Academy was established at the Clontarf Aboriginal College in Waterford, in January 2000 and is now known as the Clontarf Foundation. 
The football programs implemented by the Foundation act as an incentive for Indigenous youth to attend school, as students can only take part if they participate in the school program.  Students receive mentoring to stay engaged in school and this is combined with football activities such as coaching sessions and competitions which reach elite level.
In the eight years since its inception, the Clontarf Foundation has had exceptional results, with a six fold increase in the number of boys attending Year 12 in three established Academies, and 75 per cent of graduates involved in full time employment within one year of graduation.