The St George Illawarra Dragons are proud of the local Indigenous Youth Summit representatives involved in the All Stars Youth Summit held in Brisbane recently.
Local students Mae Gould (Shoalhaven High), Madison Farrell (Shoalhaven High), Jarad Clay (Holy Spirit College, Bellambi) and Durramah Parsons (Bega High) joined sixty young Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander participant from throughout the country.
All members were able to interact with other young leaders in an education, cultural and aspirational experience through a series of workshops, activities and discussions.
It is a reward for participation in mentoring programs conducted by all 16 NRL clubs and another tangible benefit that comes from hosting the All Stars match.
The Indigenous All Stars and World All Stars teams both spent time on Thursday attending the Summit and participating in activities that are designed to develop the students into young leaders in their communities.
In addition to being a member of the Illawarra Steelers Junior Representative team, Jarrad is in Year 11 at Holy Spirit College in Wollongong and participates in a mentoring program through the Dragons.
The youngest in a family of five children, Jarrad credits the influence of his nan, his family and his strong religious beliefs for not only steering him in the right direction but having the courage to help a close mate who had strayed off course.
"It wasn't their fault – it was a person in their family's fault that made him turn out the way he is – but I actually talk to him," said Jarrad, who wants to be an electrician if his goal of becoming a professional rugby league player doesn't pan out.
"With what my mum taught me I've taught him in a way and now he's stopped doing what he was doing.
"I've learnt so much in only a few days [of the Youth Summit]. I've learnt leadership skills, getting to meet all the players is great and you get to make contacts and meet new people."