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Football fun turns into rewarding experience for students

by Katrina Phelps

Shauna Dejong and Jordan Robertson.Shauna Dejong and Jordan Robertson.

As the World Cup starts this week, UniSA students continue to score goals of their own by taking on the rewarding experience of volunteering for the Football United®-UniSA program.

For UniSA Health Science student Shauna Dejong, volunteering with the sports program that helps disadvantaged children get involved in sports is a fulfilling experience that she would recommend to other students.

The final year student goes to a suburban primary school weekly to run an hour session with other UniSA student volunteers.

“We conduct an hour session where students are involved in football activities which incorporate life skills such as team-work or communication,” Shauna says.

“We interact with students on their level and help them to develop these skills each week.

“The program gives the students a time to run around and have fun playing football in a safe environment, where they sometimes wouldn't have that opportunity.

“Due to it being a free program, many disadvantaged children are able to join, whereas in other situations they may not be able to due to financial restrictions.

“The program brings students of all ages and background together, and I feel it's a great medium for social inclusion.”

Shauna first got involved in the program in March this year through a placement for her degree. She says she decided on Football United®-UniSA because of its community-based approach and focus on developing life skills in those who are at a disadvantage, such as migrant groups or low socio-economic families.

And her experience with the program over the past few months has lived up to the expectations.

“I would highly recommend that other students volunteer for this program,” Shauna says. “By volunteering in Football United®-UniSA, you not only give students an opportunity to learn new skills, both in football and life, but you get to see them develop and improve over time which is a great feeling.”

Fellow Bachelor of Health Science student Jordan Robertson has been involved in the Football United®-UniSA program since 2012 and says it’s a great opportunity to meet new people and be involved in making a difference in people’s lives.

“Seeing the young people we work with look forward to and enjoy what we provide for them is what I enjoy most,” Jordan says.

“I love seeing that these kids are having a good time.”

The 21-year-old first got involved in the program through a community service learning project course he did as an elective.

“I thought it would be a great opportunity to be involved in sport while studying, and working within local communities to make a difference,” Jordan says.

“I would definitely recommend that other students volunteer.”

For more information about the program see the Football United®-UniSA website or contact Joanna.bouyesi@unisa.edu.au or 8302 1186.