Shine “Shines” for AFL South Coast whilst completing school and study

Storylines School-based Aboriginal Traineeship (Storylines SBAT) participant Kiah Shine graduated the program on Friday December 8, completing near three years of involvement with AFL NSW/ACT.

Ms Shine, a student at St John’s Catholic High School in Nowra, began the program in July 2021, and whilst not having much insight into the program upon starting, took the opportunity with both hands.

The Storylines SBAT, combined school-based learning and the completion of Year 12 studies, with a Certificate II in Sport & Recreation. In addition to this learning, Kiah has assisted the delivery of AFL in-school and after-school programs. Throughout the program, Kiah has supported the delivery of over 700 hours of AFL content in schools and provided positive experiences to many people new to AFL.

The program was funded through a strong partnership between AFL NSW/ACT, Burraga Foundation and Australian Training Company (ATC). Collaboration between the three organisations was critical, with ATC providing the modules delivery which Kiah completed as part of the Certificate study, AFL NSW/ACT and AFL South Coast provided the opportunity to deliver programs, whilst Burraga Foundation provided the required support for Kiah throughout the journey.

Shine, who in 2021 was preparing to leave school, became an integral part of the Participation & Programs team with AFL South Coast, whilst the program incentivised her to stay at school and graduate Year 12. At her graduation ceremony, she spoke with AFL south Coast about her experiences.

“Going to the schools, I loved that” Ms Shine said. “Connecting with the kids and teaching them how to play AFL because some had no idea. Then, seeing them get better, it was just amazing to see.”

“I’ve learned to be more confident, and to be more interactive with the kids. That was a big thing for me from the program.”

Mark Leavy, AFL NSW/ACT Diversity Partner echoed the experiences of Kiah, having seen her, as well as Sydney-based SBAT participants Tiarna Furneyvall and Karmel Kohunui-Potts in action. “The big callout, if you were to sample the girls at the beginning, intermittently throughout, and at the end was the growth in their confidence.”

Leavy also acknowledged the support of Burraga Foundation, SportsReady, and ATC, in addition to the support from home and St John’s Catholic. “It takes a village. The collaboration between the four groups, to care enough to provide great outcomes for young Indigenous men and women. As well as provide the correct levels of support to ensure they are successful.”

A huge factor in the growing importance of the Storylines SBAT program is that it plays a significant role in closing the gap. “The measurable impact is it is keeping Indigenous kids at school, graduating Year 12, with a form of Tertiary education” Leavy explained.

“It is a great thing for a young Indigenous person to finish school and get involved with these programs. We are all responsible for our own education, and for these girls, particularly Kiah to finish school with a certification is fantastic” Leavy said.

Ms Shine acknowledged this key element, explaining that had she not been encouraged by her school to apply, she would likely have left school.

“What I like about the SBAT is that I get to leave school one day per week, and that gives me the urge to go to school on the other four days. I get so much support from school, home and Aunty Jo in the Guru and that made me feel that I could do this and not leave school.”

Now that the program is completed, the possibilities are endless for our SBAT graduate. Whilst there is still some uncertainty in what to do next, working with the AFL has been so enjoyable for Ms Shine, that she will remain with the team in a casual capacity as a Development Officer to begin 2024.

She was instrumental in delivering the successful Kinderkick programs in Nowra, and throughout her third year in the role, was able to deliver programs by herself if necessary.

Development Lead John Dyball congratulated Kiah on her graduation “Kiah has been a real success story for the AFL, with her now moving into a casual position. Her passion is in the pre-school environment, and she has represented the AFL with pride and passion.”

On behalf of the entire AFL South Coast community, we would like to congratulate Kiah for her graduation and completion of the HSC. We would also like to thank her for involvement with our organisation over the past three year. There will always be a place at the AFL for people like Kiah, and we look forward to sharing future opportunities for young people in the South Coast as they come about.