Written on the 18 March 2016 by Melva Stone


Since its inception in the Perth suburb of Waterford in 2000, the Clontarf Foundation has grown from an Academy for 25 boys to an organization now looking after some 4,200 boys in 68 schools across Australia. The West Kimberley Academy in Broome is the largest in Australia, with 200 boys enrolled in the program. This year marks eleven years of service by the Foundation to the Kimberley.

With the simple philosophy of getting young indigenous boys to school, keeping them in school and then into work, the Clontarf Foundation's Academy takes the natural interest and skills, which indigenous boys have in football and then channeling it to achieve the goals of the Foundation. Both Australian Rules and Rugby League are used to attract and keep the interest of the boys in the Academy.

The "Clontarf Pillars" represent the six key learning areas, upon which the development of the boys occurs.  They are Education, Employment, Leadership, Well-being, Football/Sport and Partners/Community.

Working in both Broome Senior High School and St Mary's College, the Foundation has full-time staff at both schools, with an impressive student to teacher ratio of only 25.

In 2015, at the Academy Awards Night over sixty "95% Plus" shirts were presented to students awarded to students who attend school more than ninety five percent of the time throughout the school year. The Academy is constantly stressing to the students that attending only 80% of the time over six years of high school means that more than one year of schooling is lost in that time.

Whilst there is a hostel in Broome, where boys from outlying communities can be housed, most boys enrolled in the Academy are living at home with their families.

Efforts are constantly being made to introduce the boys to future work opportunities, with site visits and other means of building rapport and trust between the students and potential employers. Nathan Perrin, Regional Manager for the Clontarf Foundation in the Kimberley said "it is important for the Foundation to stay in touch with what is happening in the area of potential employment and our membership of the Broome CCI will assist us in networking with potential employers".

Melva Stone

Image: Kimberley big bash cricket carnival

Author:Melva Stone

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