Local organisation Walk with Me 4 Autism has been awarded the QRL Auswide Bank Community Program of the Month Award for its All Abilities Rugby League Program.
The organisation won $500 thanks to Auswide Bank which will assist the program in continuing to provide opportunities for the community.
The Auswide Bank Community Program of the Month Award recognises and rewards excellence and innovative community programs coordinated by clubs and or leagues which significantly improve outcomes for their community and foster a culture of learning, supporting and sharing of excellent practice.
Walk With Me 4 Autism's All Abilities Rugby League was created by Sonya Olsen who was looking for a way to introduce her son, Daly, to the world of sport.
Sonya said it was fantastic to be recognised with the award as it helped to promote the program which aimed to provide children of all abilities the opportunity to play rugby league.
“We run this program to raise awareness and get acceptance of special needs kids in the community and to play a sport alongside their peers,” Sonya said.
“To be acknowledged as the QRL’s community program of the month gives kids with special needs the opportunity to be recognised.
“We are also very thankful to the families and sponsors who have believed in the program and supported us, as we wouldn’t be able to offer this without them.”
Sonya said the idea of All Abilities Rugby League program was initiated after her husband watched a television show about a similar program for children with autism.
“My husband saw an interview on Fox Sports about a young autistic boy in New South Wales who wanted to play rugby league,” she said.
“On the day of his 10th birthday the boy turned out in his footy gear and told his dad, ‘I’m 10 now and I want to play football'.
“There was nothing that suited his needs.
“So the father started what they call in New South Wales ‘Try Time' and we have changed this to All Abilities Rugby League.”
Working in conjunction with Northern Districts Rugby League and supported by NRL and QRL, Sonya said the program would help show children with special needs there was nothing to limit them.
To find out more or to register your child for the program click here.
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