August 21st 2017 at 5:20 am
Luke AJ, a 23-year-old UWA sports science and physiology student, has recently returned from a six-day trip to the Pilbara with not-for-profit Fair Game Australia – a WA-based sports charity that teaches children in remote and disadvantaged communities about sport and healthy living. The trip was part of his internship with The McCusker Centre for Citizenship and was generously supported by Wesfarmers.
Luke had a trip of firsts – his first time in a remote Indigenous community, his first time seeing a wild camel and his first time cooking (and eating!) a kangaroo tail. When Luke and the Fair Game volunteers reached their final destination, Parnngurr, a community three hours from Jigalong and four hours from Newman, they teamed up with two other not-for-profit organisations: Desert Feet, who run music projects in remote Indigenous communities and Ngurra Kujungka, another not-for-profit that organises sports programs across the West Pilbara.
The organisations worked together to develop daily activities for the children, with Fair Game and Ngurra Kujungka focussing on sport and Desert Feet recording music. Luke and the Fair Game teamed also ran their Healthy Communities program, delivering interactive health education sessions to children to show them how to maintain good health practices from a young age.
“Primarily what we did was bring up old sporting equipment, taught the kids sporting skills and got them active, and taught them healthy habits,” Luke says. “We have these things called prize packs which we gave to the kids. It's just a little pack and it contains a bunch of cool essential items – nail clippers, toothbrush and toothpaste, a water bottle and a few other bits.”
As well as successfully running programs for the local children, Luke learned first-hand about life in a remote WA community and how the people of the community work together. He also gained an insight into how a not-for-profit organisation works.
“It’s such a good experience – I love that I can do good and the university recognises that.”
Luke is one of 300 students to have undertaken an internship with the McCusker Centre for Citizenship since the Centre opened last year. The McCusker Centre for Citizenship has partnered with more than 250 organisations and interns have contributed more than 30,000 hours to the community to date.