Hero Stories

Teenagers become ‘Girl Ready’ to take on the world

The Girl Ready program works with female students from newly arrived communities in years nine and ten to help them gain confidence and be ‘girl ready’ when integrating into the school and community.  

Run by Netball NSW in conjunction with Sports Without Borders NSW, the Girl Ready program was introduced to students during term two at the Fairfield High School Intensive English Centre. On sunny afternoons in the Western Sydney suburb, girls were broken up into groups to play a game about their favourite hobby, destination, dream job and anything they wanted to share about themselves.

The workshops were two hours long and delivered by Caitlin Thwaites, the NSW Swift and Australian Diamonds player, and Ashlee Jennings from Netball NSW. The first hour was spent in the classroom and focused on life skills while the second hour took place out on the netball courts for some fun and physical activity. Each program was attended by approximately 12 girls from newly arrived communities. Some of the girls were keen to play netball and have been awarded SWB Sports Scholarships.

The two pronged strategy supported both personal and physical development via sport and life skills workshops. Taking a holistic approach, the program utilised sports and workshops to focus on areas ranging from identity, self-image and confidence to bullying, goal setting and career preparation.

The first week talked about the values that were important to the girls such as respect, honesty, confidence, cleverness and being strong. The second week centred on self-esteem, being confident and understanding that being beautiful is in the eye of the beholder. The third week focused on identifying various forms of bullying and working out strategies to confront it. The final week discussed the need for setting goals and achieving them using a diverse range of methods.

Feedback from the girls confirmed they all really enjoyed the program, in particular the classroom life skill sessions with Caitlin and Ashlee. Their confidence and self-esteem increased week by week both on and off the court, where they progressed from having no knowledge of netball to playing the game and enjoying themselves. For Sports Without Borders program organiser, Marielle Latour, it encapsulated the fantastic opportunity the girls were given while enhancing self-esteem and confidence using sport as the vehicle.
Special thanks to the Telco Together Foundatio