Souths Cares, the community and charitable arm of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, have appointed Alisha Parker-Elrez as General Manager.
Ms Parker-Elrez is the first female General Manager of Souths Cares, and is also the first Indigenous female member of the Rabbitohs' senior executive team.
Ms Parker-Elrez has been working with Souths Cares for the past four years as Programs and Operations Manager and previously held roles with the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence and Aboriginal Employment Strategy.
Ms Parker-Elrez has spearheaded Souths Cares' programs, which are delivered in the South Sydney district, around the state of New South Wales and around the country into areas such as far north Queensland and Western Australia. These programs deliver transformational change in marginalised and disadvantaged communities with key highlights including:
- over 900 Indigenous employment and training placements in the last three years;
- participants in Souths Cares' School to Work program have achieved their HSC at a 91% success rate; substantially higher than the national average of 65% for Indigenous high school students around Australia;
- the Rabbitohs Kari Wellbeing Program will visit 50 disadvantaged schools in 2018, engaging over 8,000 students in health and wellbeing topic areas including anti-bullying, cyber safety, physical activity and nutrition; and
- since 2012 the Colgate Oral Health Program has been delivered to over 14,000 primary school students, all over Australia.
Ms Parker-Elrez lives with her young family in the South Sydney district, seeing firsthand the benefits of the work Souths Cares does in the local community.
Souths Cares Chairman, James Patterson, said: "We recently held our Souths Cares annual NAIDOC Festival at Heffron Park in Maroubra, celebrating this year's theme of 'Because of her, we can'.
"The theme highlights the wonderful impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have on the community, and there is no finer example of this impact than Alisha.
"Alisha's passion for the community is extraordinary, her belief in the transformational impact of our programs is sincere and she has a wonderful record of delivering success.
"We are honoured and proud to announce her appointment as General Manager, and extremely excited about the future of Souths Cares with Alisha as its leader."
Ms Parker-Elrez said: "I feel privileged to work for such a reputable club that doesn't just 'talk the talk' but also 'walks the walk.' They are very supportive, of not only me but giving back to the community.
"They allow me to help my people and other disadvantaged youth and their families by creating and providing opportunities to facilitate change and increase their quality of life.
"I only hope that the things that I am doing now can help provide positive changes and make life easier for not only my three children, my nieces and nephews, but for all generations to come.
"Growing up in housing with my mum doing her best to support us was never easy but it has made me the person that I am today and I am forever grateful.
"We have a long way to go but every step in the right direction helps. If I can do it, anyone can!
"They say when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life, so I guess I'm just having a holiday for now. There is nothing more satisfying or uplifting than being in a position to help others. My dream is that we all make it."
Souths Cares is an independent not-for-profit public benevolent institution, established to support the local community and address social need across the South Sydney region. Its charter is to support disadvantaged and marginalised youth and their families through the delivery of capacity building programs addressing education, training, health and employment needs.