A morning of fun and festivity was had at the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation 2021 CALDplay Gala Day, at Henry Turner South Memorial Reserve in Footscray on Wednesday morning.
Nearly 150 Prep to Year 3 students from four Western English Language School campuses in Laverton, Braybrook, Footscray and St Albans, took part in a range of football and netball activities thanks to the support of AFL Victoria, Netball Victoria and SEDA College.
The CALDplay program provides migrants and refugees with local sports-based experiences that help introduce and integrate them into the community.
The program aims to facilitate a connected community participating in and contributing to Australian society and uses sport as a platform to do so.
Usually running for six weeks each school term, the program has been heavily interrupted across 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, with the Gala Day providing an opportunity for the young people to get out and active and have some fun with their friends.
Western Bulldogs General Manager – Community and Government Relations Kashif Bouns said it was excellent to see the participants in the program back out and about.
“It’s great to have the children out and playing - we all know the benefit of physical activity, we know the benefit of being in a park, having a kick, and having a laugh, and we couldn’t do that for the last two years so this is massive, especially in the lead up to Christmas,” said Bouns.
“To be able to put some smiles on their dials and give them some presents as well; it’s huge.”
As well as leaving the event with a fun experience under their belt, students were gifted a Christmas present donated by Western Bulldogs staff.
Each year, thousands of children throughout Australia don’t receive a Christmas gift due to a variety of barriers including financial hardship or being separated from family. This initiative ensured every young person attending the Gala Day received a gift this holiday season – some for the very first time.