IN THE COMMUNITY
What you might not know is that the NRL has launched many programs targeted towards players, and the community.
The NRL has very strong ties to the community. For example: are you aware of all the good players do in their off-time? Not all players do just the mandatory community work that their clubs are involved in. Many go above and beyond what is expected. You may even be surprised on who the players are and what they are doing:
The NRL has a community award; the Ken Stephen Medal. This award recognises that the efforts of a player for their charity work, youth development or community support.
The 2017 Ken Stephen Medallist was Sam Tagataese who on his days off went into his local community to provide provide food to those less fortunate and doing it tough.
The 2019 Ken Stephens Medal was awarded to Canberra’s Sia Soliola for working every Monday without fail at The Early Morning Soup Kitchen. He also helps raise money for the Vinnies’ CEO Sleepout. Mr Soliola is also involved in a whole lot of charitable organisations such as being an ambassador for Angelman’s Syndrome, and the Silence is Deadly program. He also works at Kulture Break which uses performing arts to help disadvantaged children.
All this is apart from his club community commitments of McHappy Day, NRLD School Holiday Clinic and Shave for a Cure.
Other heart warming stories of NRL players doing good in the community are:
* Charnze Nicoll-Klostad – bought a pair of red Nike Air Max shoes for a young man with cerebral palsy; Takiri Wikiteram when he just out shopping. Charnze is now an ambassador for NZ Physical Disabilities Rugby League.
* Jamal Idris – mentors individuals undergoing rehabilitation for substance abuse, and is very active in the West Tigers Healthy Homeless Program and the NRL’s Dream Believe Achieve and School to Work programs.
*Jackson Hastings – Part of his club commitment is involved in the Manly’s Read With an Eagle program which combines sport and literacy. Outside of his clubs commitments he makes several trips to local hospitals and schools and spends time with the young inpatients and students. He also donates personal gear to fundraise for various community initiatives.
* Konrad Hurrell – has spent more than 120 hours of community work over the past year. He also volunteers at the match day engagements with White Ribbon, Ronald McDonald House and Starlight Foundation. But the surprising thing for me to find out is that he in very involved in the Touch Football Specialised program; it provides opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities to play Touch Football. Now Konrad referees and plays in this competition every week and ensures teammates join him from both the NRL and NYC.
* Tim Mannah – launched his own charity; the Mannah Foundation in 2011 in honour of his brother Jon who passed away from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. His foundation partners with youth charities to raise money for those less fortunate.
There were many others that were nominated in 2017, some of them are Latrell Mitchell, Tevita Pangai, Young Tonumaipea, Joel Thompson, Moses Mbye, and Trent Hodgkinson. You should definitely look into the good work that these fine young gentlemen are doing.
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