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IEC youths champion change in Hume through footy

A group of Kangan Institute Indigenous Education Centre (IEC) students have made it their mission to take disadvantaged youths off the street and help them re-engage with the community through their favourite sport, football.

Spearheaded by VCAL (Intermediate) and information technology (IT) student Dyllan O'Brien, the Hume Bombers Football Club was created as a VCAL project in September last year to support local youths. With more than 100 players, the club competes in Reclink Australia's Victorian Football League (aimed at supporting people experiencing disadvantage) and recently claimed victory in the Grand Final on 16th August 2012.

"We take Indigenous students off the street and get them into sports and to participate in a group - to feel like they belong. It's been a long journey to get here," said Dyllan, general manager of Hume Bombers. "Even though they come from disadvantaged backgrounds, it inspires me how they can rise up and get their life back on track." According to IEC teacher Arnel Davis, the club has been hugely successful not just on the field, but also off the field.

"The club has successfully engaged some students back into study at Kangan Institute, from VCAL to childcare, building and other programs," he said. "We found that some of our former students who had left mid-way through their course even came back to finish off what they've started."

Dyllan and several other IEC students also play for Jacana Football Club within the Essendon District Football League. According to Dyllan, this is another avenue for him to keep busy and stay involved with the wider community. "Before playing for Jacana I did nothing on the weekends. Now I play every Saturday and I'm always busy with something to do," he said.

Dyllan has received the Gunung-Willam-Bulluk-Uncle Norm Hunter Award at Kangan Institute in recognition of his achievements. Currently completing an IT traineeship at Hume City Council as part of the Certificate I in Information, Digital Media and Technology, the self-motivated student uses his newfound IT skills to manage the Hume Bombers website and social media activities to continuously reach and engage more young people.

Support the Hume Bombers - check out their Facebook page on facebook.com/HumeBombers. For more information about the IEC, go to: kangan.edu.au/departments/indigenous-education-centre/.

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