The Australian Rugby League Commission has won gold on the eve of the Olympic Games, this morning being named the Governing Body of the Year at the prestigious international Beyond Sport Federation Awards in London.
In presenting the award, Beyond Sport, a global organisation that promotes, develops and supports the use of sport to create positive social change across the world, paid tribute to Rugby League’s life-changing education and health programs, its commitment to helping Indigenous communities and for providing a national stage for practical reconciliation.
Learn Earn Legend! Ambassador Preston Campbell, representing the game’s players, and NRL Community, Culture and Diversity Programs Manager Mark deWeerd accepted the award at the gala ceremony that featured international sporting stars and officials from around the world.
“Every day Rugby League makes a positive difference to the lives of people around the country,” ARLC Interim Chief Executive, Mr Shane Mattiske said today.
“The community programs we have developed have a huge impact in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific and to see that work honoured on an international stage is a huge credit to all those involved.
“From the national significance of the All Stars as a symbol of reconciliation, to sharing the fun of reading, Rugby League is working to bring people and communities together.
“I would like to acknowledge the commitment and passion of our players, NRL clubs, the game’s community, education and welfare managers and all the volunteers at grass-roots level who have helped bring these programs to life and inspired others to pursue their dreams and make a difference in their lives.”
The projects featured in the ARL Commission’s award nomination included:
Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars: Recognised as one of this country’s most powerful examples of practical reconciliation, the match between the NRL All Stars and Indigenous All Stars generates $1.5 million for community projects across the game, with a focus on assisting Indigenous communities.
Learn Earn Legend! This program encourages Indigenous youth to stay at school (Learn), get a job (Earn) and be a legend for themselves, their family and their community (Legend). More than 11,000 Indigenous youth have benefited from Learn Earn Legend! initiatives, including School to Work programs, the State of Origin Job Experience, All Stars Youth Summit and numerous NRL club-based programs.
Rugby League Reads: This uses Rugby League as a vehicle to engage students in reading by providing free Rugby League-orientated educational resources for students and teachers in schools and role modelling male sport stars as readers.
OneSight-One Community: Promoting the belief that clear vision is a basic right, not a luxury, this program targets Indigenous students in communities with restricted access to basic eye care services. Through the program 622 students have been screened to date and it will assist a further 1200 students by the end of 2012. Students who attend the screening are then rotated through Rugby League skills clinics with One Community Ambassadors who deliver positive messages about eye care and general health.
Tackling Violence Program: Supported by the NSW Government, this program aims to educate boys and men to reduce the incidence of violence against women and to inspire them to be role models in their communities.
The other finalists for the Beyond Sport Awards Federation/Governing Body of the Year Award were the Commonwealth Games Association of Canada (CGC) and Premiership Rugby (UK).