Buku Khamis has won his second John Schultz Community Award, showcasing his unwavering commitment to making a positive difference in the community.
Born in South Sudan, Buku is an exemplary role model for young people and has been heavily involved in the GOAL Mentoring program, aimed at African Australians aged 13-15 years old.
He has also supported the Sons of the West (Men’s health) and the Youth Leadership Project, as well as presenting to local schools, rounding out a full season of off-field commitment to the work of the Community Foundation and its efforts in building a better future for all people.
“Buku’s contributions to the wider community continue to grow every year” said Kashif Bouns, General Manager of Community and Government Relations at the Western Bulldogs.
“As a past participant of our programs, his story perfectly encapsulates the inspiring impact the Community Foundation can have.
Everyone’s hero — Western Bulldogs (@westernbulldogs) October 4, 2023
Buku is the 2023 winner of the John Schultz community award. pic.twitter.com/7aVp9Kb3yX
“So many young people look up to these AFL stars but for them to get an opportunity to sit down, talk and learn from the experiences of their heroes is a powerful memory they won’t soon forget, especially when those experiences are being shared as openly and honestly as Buku does.”
Buku’ first involvement with the Community Foundation came when he arrived in Melbourne as a six-year-old boy via what was then known as the Ready SETTLE Go program, aimed at helping newly-arrived migrants settle into the country.
“At the start it was a bit difficult, especially with the language barrier, learning how to speak English and trying to fit in at school…sport came in so handy in communicating with other students,” explained Buku earlier this year.
“I think the values you learn in football, carry on into your life.”
After being drafted to Whitten Oval via the Next Generation Academy in 2018, Buku’s association with the Community Foundation grew even stronger as he set about giving back to the community that had supporting him so far.
This saw him win the John Schultz Community award for the first time in 2020 and he has continued to become a strong advocate for the refugee experience in Australia, a passionate mentor for young people and a true champion for the community in the west.