Monday marked the commencement of Souths Cares’ second Oral Health regional visit when they engaged more than 400 students from across the South Coast of New South Wales.
Batemans Bay Public School hosted the Souths Cares Oral Health team – also participating in the health and education sessions were primary students from the surrounding school communities of Sunshine Bay, Mogo, Broulee and Moruya.
Shannon Donato, General Manager of Souths Cares, said that the day was a great success.
“Souths Cares mentor, Rhys Wesser, took the “Clean well, Drink well!” message to the community to raise awareness of good oral health and hygiene among young students,” said Shannon.
“The key messages delivered by Rhys reinforced the importance of regular teeth brushing, drinking plenty of tap water and making healthy food choices.”
In partnership with the NSW Centre for Oral Health Strategy, Colgate and the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, Shannon said that Souths Cares ensured the students were given the opportunity to have their teeth checked.
“The Poche Centre’s Oral Health Dental Van checked students’ teeth, many of which were referred to their local dentists for follow-up treatment.
Ms Kylie Gwynne, Director, Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, noted the positive influence the Rabbitohs NRL squad have in strengthening health education messages.
“When role models such as Mario Fenech, Beau Champion, Dylan Walker, Alex Johnston and Aaron Gray promote oral health, kids are more likely to brush their teeth, drink tap water and wear a mouth guard,” Kylie said.
“Improving the oral health of Aboriginal children is fundamental to reducing chronic disease and closing the gap in life expectancy.
“The Poche Centre is delighted to support this important initiative.”
After the oral health sessions each student actively participated in the Macquarie Sports Football Clinic.
Christopher McKenzie, Senior Manager, Macquarie Sports, said that this is the second year of Macquarie Sports’ partnership with Souths Cares which follows on from a very successful campaign in 2013, with visits to northern NSW communities, including Walgett, Moree, Inverell and Boggabilla.
“Macquarie Sports is delighted to pair with Souths Cares again to provide sporting opportunities and equipment for over 1,000 children of the NSW south coast,” said Christopher.
He also said that Macquarie Sports aims to enhance the fitness and well-being of young people, by providing positive role models to inspire and motivate.
“Macquarie Sports runs sporting clinics and associated programs for more than 8,000 children each year, using elite sportspeople as coaches and role models.
“We are excited to bring former South Sydney, NSW and Australian representative Matthew King to the communities of the South Coast. Matthew is a fantastic role model for the children. He endorses key messages to the children, particularly around the importance of health, education and maintaining an active lifestyle.
Although the day finished with a barbeque lunch for the school communities, the Souths Cares team travelled further south to deliver a “Dream, Believe, Achieve” session and another Macquarie Sports Football Clinic to members of the Moruya-Tuross Sharks.
Rhys, Beau and Dylan gave inspirational talks which included their insights in to making dreams a reality.
Rhys Wesser said sharing their personal stories with the students will encourage them the dream big.
“When we are young we can have dreams but may lack the resources required to get us on to the right track in achieving them,” he said.
“Sharing our personal experiences can go a long way to helping these young students believe in themselves and achieve their dreams,” Rhys said.
The session was also attended by Eurobodalla Shire Councillor, Danielle Brice, on behalf of the local Mayor.
Clr Brice welcomed Souths Cares to the Shire and said she became very involved in rugby league as a Registrar, helping in the canteen, running kids to games and First Aid Officer.
“There is something special watching your kids involved in a sport they love,” said Clr Brice.
“Winning was not always everything, but to see the teams make the semis, finals and grand finals was amazing. The most important thing you get out of this sport is to be part of a team, learn new skills and make friends for life.”
Today, the Souths Cares road show heads further south to Bodalla where they will engage another 300 students in their clinics.
Souths Cares would like to thank Batemans Bay Public School for all their assistance in hosting the day and their exceptional hospitality.
For further reading about the road show please visit: