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Thursday, April 18, 2024

How’s Ya Matein Wilcannia

Perth native Kirby Bentley, a former player for the Fremantle and Carlton clubs in the AFL women’s competition, paid a visit to Wilcannia Central School on Thursday, February 22nd. Sponsored by Lifeline through a Regional NSW grant, Kirby’s mission was to promote “How’s Ya Mate?”, a program focused on mental first aid for kids.

During her visit, Kirby engaged with students from both schools, socializing and playing basketball with them. Local police officers, staff from the Drop-in Centre, and several parents also joined in the activities. Between games, Kirby emphasized the importance of connecting with younger individuals, recognizing that children who are struggling may not always verbalize their concerns but often express them through body language, particularly evident in younger children.

Following the games, a barbecue and salad were served to all participants, and each child received a gift bag as a token of Kirby’s concern for their wellbeing. Kirby personally drew a smiley face on each child’s hand before they received their bag, demonstrating her commitment to spreading positivity. The gift bags contained essential items such as a water bottle, sports towel, cap, socks, magnet, jelly beans, and a poster, with many children also receiving a new basketball.

Reflecting on the event, Jacinta Cullen from Lifeline expressed satisfaction with the success of the “How’s Ya Mate?” program, which has previously run in Broken Hill in partnership with the AFL. Lifeline is now expanding the program to other sports, including rugby, netball, and basketball, collaborating with local representatives like Regina Hunter in Wilcannia to reach more communities.

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