Inclusivity is one of the Sharks Have Heart four pillars, creating equal opportunities for everyone in the community is something we strongly believe in. We have recently been able to take big steps forward in this space and begin to make a difference in the Sutherland Shire community.
Within our pillar of 'inclusivity' we have three main programs we are very proud of, which are Mega Jaws, Skillz4me and Sharks Buddies.
This is a school holiday clinic offered to children with additional needs who are unable to take part in mainstream holiday clinics. Launched in 2017, we have held 3 Mega Jaws clinics so far and are looking to grow this in the future to ensure every child and their family have the chance to experience rugby league and holiday clinic fun. This clinic is completely free to those children and families who participate.
A Sharks Have Heart-supported program for children on the Autism Spectrum or with additional needs.
This program combines sport, fun and therapy, Skillz4me sessions focus on building confidence, improving social skills, coordination and balance, stimulating neural pathways, eye tracking and concentration, in a healthy, safe and friendly environment.
Skillz4me, which was founded and conducted by Jason Stanton from Sharks Have Heart in partnership with his wife Sarah, runs over 40 weeks and is a one-hour weekly session at no cost to families.
Each Skillz4me session attracts 10-30 families each week.
The Sharks support includes Stanton and his special brand of presentation skills in delivering this special initiative, with NRL squad member Aaron Gray a Skillz4me ambassador.
This program was launched in partnership with Gig Buddies and its aim is to allow those in the community with additional needs to attend a Sharks game as they would usually face social isolation in this setting. This program achieves this social inclusion by partnering up those with a disability, with a 'buddy' who is someone that would usually attend rugby league games.
The ability to allow those with disability an equal chance to attend a Sharks game is something we feel very passionately about and this partnership in the program has been a great success. Below is a story on the program which aired on the Channel 9's Footy Show - www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIXmIb1Mlrw
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