The Souths Cares team spent the final day of their Oral Health Awareness campaign in Queanbeyan where the Rabbitohs team engaged around 350 students from six local primary schools.

Students from Queanbeyan, West Queanbeyan, South Queanbeyan, East Queanbeyan, Jerrabomerra schools and St Greg’s Catholic Primary, took part in the Souths Cares ‘Clean well, Drink well!’ oral health education sessions and Macquarie Sports Rugby League Clinic.

“Souths Cares was excited to be delivering the program to more than 350 young people from the Queanbeyan region,” said Mentor Rhys Wesser.

“We work in partnership with the NSW Centre for Oral Health Strategy, Colgate and the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health who assist us in ensuring the students understand the importance of good oral health and hygiene.

“The program’s key messages include the importance of regular brushing, drinking plenty of tap water, playing well, and making healthy food choices.

“While I delivered the sessions, the Poche Centre’s Oral Health Van was onsite where fully trained dental staff were providing check-ups for students free of charge.”

Kylie Gwynne, Director, Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at The University of Sydney, noted the benefits of protecting your teeth when playing sport.

“The Poche Centre is delighted to support this important initiative,” she said.

“When role models such as Beau Champion and Dylan Walker promote oral health, kids are more likely to brush their teeth, drink tap water and wear a mouth guard.”

After the dental health care sessions the students were given the chance to get active by participating in the Macquarie Sports Rugby League Clinic with Rabbitohs Matt King, Rhys Wesser, Beau Champion, Dylan Walker and Aaron Gray.

Christopher McKenzie, Senior Manager, Macquarie Sports, Macquarie Group Limited, said that Macquarie Sports aims to enhance the fitness and well-being of young people, by providing positive role models to inspire and motivate.

“We are excited to bring former South Sydney, NSW and Australian representative Matt King to the community of Queanbeyan,” he said.

“Matt 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.

“Macquarie Sports Rugby League Clinics have been designed to suit children of all ages and experience levels.”

Shannon Donato, Souths Cares General Manager, said there are many people to thank for supporting the Souths Cares team in delivering the program to the communities of Queanbeyan and the NSW South Coast.

“Country people are very giving and community minded. At every turn there was someone willing to offer their assistance to the team,” Mr Donato said.

“The long list of people and organisations to acknowledge include:

·        NSW Centre for Oral Health Strategy;

·        Colgate;

·        Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, The University of Sydney;

·        Katungal Medical Service;

·        Macquarie Sports, Macquarie Group Limited;

·        Mrs Jackie Jackson from NSW Health;

·        Clr Danielle Brice, Eurobodalla Shire Council;

·        Clr Tim Overall, Mayor of Queanbeyan;

·        NRL Development Officers;

·        The Elders of the Walbanga and Ngambri people;

·        Group 16 Rugby League (covers Bega, Merimbula/Pambula, Tathra, Eden, Cooma, Moruya, Tuross and Narooma); and

·        The school communities of Batemans Bay PS, Broullee PS, Sunshine Bay PS, Mogo PS, Bodalla PS, Bermagui PS, Narooma PS, Moruya PS, St Mary's Primary School, Queanbeyan PS, West Queanbeyan PS, South Queanbeyan PS, East Queanbeyan PS, Jerrabomerra PS, and St Greg’s Primary School.

“Souths Cares had a wonderful time engaging the students and getting to know the local community.

“We’ll definitely be back.”