Despite regularly playing in front of 80,000 people at the MCG, it was the prospect of mentoring a young person battling homelessness that initially daunted Darcy Moore.
Being only a 19-year-old at the time with one season of AFL footy under his belt, Moore thrust himself into the unknown to help out a young person in need of guidance.
But it didn’t take long for the Collingwood forward to realise the situation was one he needn’t worry about.
“As soon as I got paired up with my mentee, it just flowed,” Moore told AFLPlayers.com.au.
“It was clear in which the areas where he needed help and other areas where we could just have a laugh.
“In many ways, we helped each other and over those 18 months watching him develop into a young person with such energy and passion for life.”
Part of the Ladder program since 2015, Moore has seen his mentee develop into an energetic young person, who secured private rental and was accepted into university on a scholarship.
Ladder, the AFL Players’ Association’s official charity, is an independent not-for-profit organisation established in 2007 to help young people aged 16 to 25 break the cycle of homelessness.
The organisation gives young people the tools to take control of their lives, transition to independence and achieve their potential.
Moore said it was important for him to get involved but the program isn’t limited to AFL players.
“We’re privileged to have the lives we do but the reality is there are thousands of young people who are sleeping rough.
“I’d say reach out and get involved, the team here are so supportive and open-minded to anyone’s level of commitment or interest.
“At the very least, come in and educate yourself about the issue and I’m sure like me, you’ll become passionate about making a difference.”
Ladder currently operates in Collingwood, Broadmeadows, Glen Waverley, Geelong, Bendigo, Warrnambool, Mount Druitt (NSW), Adelaide and Perth.
Ladder’s raising awareness for Homelessness Week, with the AFL Players’ Association releasing a video series demonstrating the outstanding work that AFL players do with the charity.
The videos feature Moore, North Melbourne’s Trent Dumont and AFLW Western Bulldogs player Ange Gogos to be released on AFLPlayers.com.au and ladder.org.au this week.