CANNINGTON’S Communicare Get Active Project started this month with youngsters aged 6-17 from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds encouraged to get sporty and make new friends.
Little Athletics primary school coach TJ Callas is among the leaders welcoming new faces to participate in the diverse field of athletics.
Arriving from Guinea in 2008, Mr Callas could not speak English and sport and athletics gave him community and communication.
“When I came to Australia I couldn’t speak English so I chose athletics and that was how I started to learn and make friends,” he said.
“When I first came to Australia I went to the sports shed to find a football that someone had asked for and to me that was round, but someone brought out something I had never seen before.
“So that was beginning of learning words and the development of my communication skills, which helped me meet new people and with athletics you meet new people every week.”
A component of the program includes a Youth Connect Leadership Network that supports young people, aged 12 to 20 years, to reach their goals of a career in the sport and recreation field by providing opportunities of direct links with sporting clubs and associations and valuable work experience such as coaching.
Mr Callas, a Murdoch University cyber forensic student is also the university sports captain, training six days a week ahead of the uni games.
He said sport was part of his success, and has started an online community working towards encouraging young people to get active.
“I do sport full time and uni full time, I believe in the balance and you have to have both and I prioritise my time,” Mr Callas said.
“I am an athlete myself and I have always wanted to get children involved in sport… I feel with sport you can overcome anything, if you are depressed sometimes going for a walk will help you feel better.
“With my coaching, one day I would like to focus on that and English and this is the idea I want to get for kids.”
He encouraged new families or people looking to try a new sport to get involved in Little Athletics.
“Learn how to speak English by doing sport, that would be what I would say to any person new to Australia,” he said.
“You don’t have to have the best shape, there are lots of types of athletics to suit all people and the best part is you meet lots of new people.
“The aim is to get kids who haven’t done athletics before to learn… we do the fundamental skills like throwing, jumping and running and sprinting,”
“The aim is to have fun and increase participation.”
Program held in Gosnells, for more information call 9251 5722.