FOR Willagee dad Rob De Azevedo, helping other children is what keeps him going.
The father-of-two, who runs soccer program Junior Goals, has been mentoring young budding soccer stars for years and is looking to give back through the release of his children’s picture book Bola’s (meaning ball in Portuguese) First Christmas.
Written and illustrated by the 37-year-old, the book is an ode to his Portuguese heritage and tells the story of “Bola de Futebal”, the program’s mascot, experiencing Christmas. Mr De Azevedo hopes sales of the book ahead of the festive season will help children less fortunate living in Bali’s Jodie O’Shea Orphanage.
“We will be selling our Junior Goals Christmas Book this term and all proceeds are going to the Orphanage,” Mr De Azevedo said.
“Last time we sold more than 300 books and this year we are aiming for 500.
“In our program we have weekly themes, such as dinosaurs, under the sea, Australiana, where children learn different soccer skills.
“This term is based around ‘the Christmas spirit’, so the children are encouraged to do something different each week to spread the message, such as using their manners, sharing, drawing someone a picture, packing away their toys.
“We try to teach the children that Christmas is not just about what presents we will be getting, but more importantly about what we can give and do to make the people we love happy. Most importantly that we do not need to buy anybody anything and we can show them our love with our actions and behaviour.
“My thought was what could I do to show them by example, so decided to incorporate the program (and drawing the theme of each week) into a colouring book.”
Mr De Azevedo said giving back to others less fortunate was the real currency in life and was grateful to live in a country like Australia.
Next year he hopes to deliver a decent amount of money to the children in Bali, as well as introduce them to his soccer program.
“Last time we raised money, we build a new storage room they desperately needed,” he said.
“This time I will run the program for the children there at the orphanage and will hand the money over to the owner of the orphanage.”
For more information on the program or to buy the book, visit www.juniorgoals.com.