Volunteer work and giving back to the community has always been a passion of mine.
I’ve always thought: ‘Who am I if I don’t help where I can? I have the ability to help, so why wouldn’t I?’
That thought was echoed again when I was drafted to Collingwood in the 2016 AFLW draft and I was given a platform to be able to give back.
I immediately thought, ‘What do I do with this?’
After the Draft, and as part of our induction into the system, we were given a brief introduction about Ladder and the AFL Players Care program.
Ladder was established in 2007 to help young people aged 16-25 break the cycle of homelessness by former AFL players who wanted to do their bit for the community.
As AFL and AFLW players, Ladder is part of our identity and so I wanted to put my hand up and be part of it too.
I started studying a Bachelor of Social Work at university and I felt that, coupled with my involvement with Ladder, they would work well together.
My role with the organisation is about being a conduit between players and those involved in our program, to help continue to grow the identity of Ladder and its connection to AFL players.
When someone asks me about my role I always say, ‘I do a little bit of this and a little bit of that and a little bit here and a little bit there’.
My work has ranged from running fitness workshops to assisting with school work and providing a support mechanism to youths.
Our position as the official charity partner of the AFL Players’ Association puts us in a unique situation where we can use our platform to give back to the community.
It’s incredibly important to be able to support those who are in different positions to us. Everyone deserves to have a support network and if I can help to grow that then I know I’ve achieved my bit.
As players we can sometimes forget about the platform we have because outside of the season you live such normal lives. But once we’re back on the track and the season picks up again it’s a really solid reminder about the impact you can have.
I often say how powerful Collingwood makes me feel and it’s because the club as a whole has a platform and the ability to make such an impact.
Having Collingwood as part of my own support network is incredibly powerful for me and I only hope I can offer that same empowerment to the people I work with through Ladder and my disability support work, which I do for a few hours each week outside of my work with Ladder.
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Again this year we say a big thanks to all AFL players for their ongoing support of Ladder. The playing group has donated over $200,000 which goes directly to our mentoring and development programs. We couldn’t do this work without their support and thank them for helping us make young people’s lives better.
This September you can support Ladder through our Finals Pins Campaign.
So many people say that $5 can go a long way, but I never properly understood that until I joined Ladder.
Every single cent counts towards tackling youth homelessness and we’re incredibly grateful for any support.
There’s a multitude of ways people can get involved with Ladder – whether it be purchasing a pin or spreading our message – and everyone’s support brings us one step closer to our end goal.
You can learn more about Ladder and their Finals Pins Campaign here.