The Western Bulldogs Community Foundation is thriving in Ballarat, having recently expanded both their Youth Leadership Project and Nallei Jerring programs in the western corridor.
Year 11 student Fleur Mansell and year eight student Tom Koros both joined the Club-led Youth Leadership Project in Ballarat this year, after being encouraged to join via a Community Foundation pitch at their schools.
For Fleur, the youth leadership model working towards a community project was what drew her in.
"The Bulldogs have a good demonstration of what service can do and how a little at the grassroots can really make a change," Fleur told the Ballarat Courier.
"...I have a passion for sports and I am fundraising for sports equipment at primary schools in regional towns, like Haddon and Creswick.
"I went to Haddon Primary School and it's not quite the same as other schools. We had broken equipment all the time from overuse.
"I found in primary school, recess and lunchtime we always wanted to play sport. In high school, sport is a good way to have balance in your life - you may not realise it in primary school but it's important in high schools."
It was similar for Tom, who teamed up with a fellow participant to give young people and their parents more ideas and support to try different sports.
"We're trying to encourage sports in the community and get kids to play sport," Tom said.
"We want to run a little open day with cricket and footy and Kelly Sports."
Across town, siblings Tyler and Dakota Somerville have barely missed a moment of the Foundation's booming Nallei Jerring program, which in its second year in Ballarat has more than doubled to 60 participants.
Dakota joined Nallei Jerring because older brother Tyler did the inaugural Ballarat program.
The siblings share heritage with the Palawa peoples of Tasmania who, for most of the 20th century, were mistakenly understood by colonisers to be extinct.
"We knew where we're from but never learnt that much about it. There's a few people in the family, but no a whole lot we could learn something from," Dakota said.
"...Things we're doing [in Nallei Jerring] are something you don't really learn anywhere else. It's not fully about culture but it is good to know what has happened."
Western Bulldogs chief executive officer Ameet Bains has long maintained the Foundation's community program investment in Ballarat is a vital part of the partnership to bring the club's AFL and AFLW premiership season matches to town.
The Western Bulldogs Community Foundation has run many of its programs in Ballarat since the Club kicked off its commitment to the region.
The Western Bulldogs acknowledges funding support from the Victorian Government and City of Ballarat, which provides for Sport Development and Community Engagement programs in Ballarat.