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Rabbitohs back-rower Dave Tyrrell and Titans Learning Centre co-founder Wendy Thomas have been named the Good Guy and Good Girl of the Month for July as Rugby League unveils a new joint monthly award that will continue to recognise the men and women in the game who are true community heroes.

As ‘Team Captain’ of the Souths Cares Teachers Aide Program at La Perouse Public School, Tyrrell’s commitment to leading a team of players in the delivery of the program’s numeracy curriculum has not only earned him great respect amongst his team-mates, but also amongst the school principal, teachers and students of the small South Sydney school.

Since his involvement with the program in 2009, Tyrrell’s dedication to working with the students, 75 per cent of whom are from Indigenous backgrounds, has helped deliver the school a growth in numeracy results amongst the Years 3 to 5 that is double the state average. 

“I have enjoyed my time at La Perouse and just as the kids get excited to see us each week, we also get a lot out of spending time with them,” Tyrrell said. 

“School was a massive part of my life and helped me get to where I am today so it’s great to see the students get the same enjoyment out of school as I did.” 

The Souths Cares Teachers Aide Program has involved 18 Rabbitohs players throughout 2011 and Tyrrell’s responsibilities include maintaining the relationship with the school principal, organising weekly rosters and ensuring players attend their sessions, providing consultation to the players, principal, and Souths Cares co-ordinator and ensuring weekly contact with the students is maintained.

“Dave is the most enthusiastic support for the children, he has taught them that by persevering and working hard, they will always be rewarded,” La Perouse Primary School Principal, Elizabeth Sinnot, said.

“He is a wonderful example of how to give back to the community in a real and meaningful way and he certainly makes a difference to the children at La Perouse.”

As co-founder of the Titans Learning Centre (TLC), Thomas now works as the Centre’s teacher co-ordinator and heads a program that uses NRL players to help disengaged students re-commit to school work by developing their social skills and self-esteem.  

Established in 2008, the T.L.C Program originated out of a need for a positive male role model at the school Thomas was working for at the time, with the program growing to now encompass 15 schools in the Gold Coast region.

“Many of these students suffer from low self esteem, a reluctance to learn and an inability to express themselves in a social context and I have seen first-hand the impact the players have had on them,” Thomas said.

“The program’s success has seen Education Queensland replicating the program on the northern end of the Gold Coast from next year and employing a teacher, but its success is most prevalent in the overwhelmingly positive feedback received from parents of past students who continue to do well even after the program’s completion.”  

NRL Director, Community, Culture and Diversity, Ms Trish Crews added: “Each week, hundreds of NRL players, staff and volunteers of the game go out into the community to help improve the lives of others and as Dave and Wendy have shown, the work they do does make a difference.” 

“Their achievements and those of Souths Cares and the Titans Learning Centre are a great example of the positive impact those involved in our game make each year through their work in the community.”

Rugby League’s One Community Good Guy of the Month award acknowledges and recognises the inspiring and widespread commitment of NRL players to the community throughout the season, whilst the One Community Good Girl of the Month award acknowledges and recognises the inspiring and widespread commitment of women to Rugby League.
As the Good Guy of the Month, Tyrrell will receive one night’s accommodation including breakfast for two courtesy of NRL sponsor the Holiday Inn while, as Good Girl of the Month, Thomas will receive a pair of sunglasses courtesy of NRL sponsor OPSM.