‘A step up’: Eddie Betts’ new foundation to create pathways for Indigenous youth

Save articles for later

Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.

AFL great Eddie Betts has launched a new foundation to provide greater opportunities for First Nations youth in sport and education.

The launch of the Eddie Foundation coincides with the AFL’s Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round, which starts Friday. The former Carlton Blues and Adelaide Crows star describes the venture as an extension of his family’s “lifelong commitment” to creating pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Eddie Betts is launching the Eddie Foundation, to help First Nations youth in sport and education.Credit: Jason South

“This is just what my family does … I wanted to formalise that process, so we can do it on a bigger scale,” Betts said ahead of the official launch of the foundation on Wednesday.

“It’s crucial to note that Aboriginal people don’t need saving, they are all born into strong families with strong sense of community and care for each other. This is about identifying and highlighting leadership within our communities and … opening that door to provide opportunity.”

The Eddie Foundation will provide funding and resources such as playing gear and travel expenses for selected applicants, introduce children to professional networks within sport and provide personal mentoring and career advice.

“It’s about helping families and breaking down barriers,” Betts said.

Betts detailed the challenges he experienced growing up and later entering the AFL system in his 2022 book The Boy From Boomerang Crescent, revealing that after leaving school early and illiterate, he continued to struggle with reading and understanding team meetings after being drafted by Carlton in 2004.

The club supported the rising small forward with tutoring and Betts learned to read in his 20s.

He has since authored two children’s books, been involved in the scripting of his animated children’s series and writing his autobiography. Betts is also outspoken on the importance of early literacy programs for Indigenous communities.

The foundation will be led by Betts with close involvement from former Melbourne Demons defender Neville Jetta, a Noongar man. Jetta is also a development coach with the Collingwood Magpies, playing alongside the ladder-leading club’s younger Indigenous players in the VFL as an onfield mentor.

Other members of the foundation’s inaugural working group will be announced in coming weeks, with several team members coming from a background in elite sports, Betts said.

Betts, a three-time AFL All-Australian, said the Aboriginal-owned and led foundation would have a unique ability to understand the challenges that young Indigenous people face.

“We’re all about fostering self-determination in action and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in sport and education. With the right support and people around them, these kids can do anything they set their minds to,” he said.

The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.

Most Viewed in National

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article