Day three of Souths Cares’ country tour of NSW saw students from Cowra and Bathurst educated about the importance of looking after their teeth and gums.
Students were instructed in sound oral hygiene practices and rewarded with an NRL football training clinic that was supported by Rabbitohs players.
Some 600 students had their teeth screened as part of proceedings thanks to the assistance of the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and the Western Local Health District, in what was described as a massive undertaking by Souths Cares General Manager, Brock Schaefer.
Brock praised the work of Rabbitohs players; Cameron McInnes, Kyle Turner and Josh Ellison for their assistance in the delivering of the program to the region.
“Having these role models accompany us on our educational tours of regional NSW makes engaging the students a lot easier,” said Brock.
“It works both ways – their involvement obviously means the day is more exciting for the students, but for the players too, it allows them to support student learning and gain an increased awareness of the bush and its people.
“Souths Cares and the Rabbitohs have always been actively involved in supporting the marginalised and disadvantage, and coming out to the bush is an extension of that.
The oral health program is delivered by Souths Cares Ambassador and former Rabbitoh, Beau Champion, who has a long and impressive record of working in the community.
“For a long time now Beau has been giving back to community and his passion for education shows in the delivery of his sessions and his ability to communicate with the young students,” said Brock
“Beau has also overcome challenges throughout his professional football career so he has a lot to offer the students in terms of motivation and resilience.
The team also spent some time with the parents and children from Towri Multipurpose Aboriginal Children’s Long Day Care Service in Bathurst, with players taking a tour of the facilities before enjoying a barbeque.
“The Centre is so well regarded that the children they previously cared for are bringing their children there to be looked after, too,” said Brock.
Such regional tours would not be possible without the support of the Centre for Oral Health Strategy, the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, Colgate, the Central West Local Health District, a number of local Aboriginal Medical Services and the school communities taking part.
“We have been lucky enough to have most of these sponsors and supporters travelling with us which has made our jobs so much easier,” Brock added.
“I guess this level of support is a testament to the reputation Souths Cares and the Rabbitohs enjoy not just in Sydney, but throughout NSW.”