Football United is extremely proud to launch our new project, Digital Connections. The project, launched yesterday at Miller Technolgy High School, equips and trains youth leaders to help Football United participants share their stories and engage with the wider community through digital media.
Backed by a $250,000 grant over three years from the Telstra Foundation, the program harnesses the skills and experience of acclaimed film maker Phillip Noyce. Mr Noyce appeared via pre-recorded video at today's Digital Connections launch along with former Matilda's star Gill Foster and Mayor of Liverpool, Wendy Waller.
"I'm extremely pleased to be an ambassador for Football United's Digital Connections project," Mr Noyce said. "I spent some time with Football United participants last year and was captivated by their passion and drive. "With cameras in hand, these remarkable youngsters will be able to tell, and share, their incredible stories. I sincerely hope that through this project we will develop some budding young film-makers in Australia that will captivate audiences across the world."
Telstra Group Managing Director, Strategy and Corporate Services, Paul Fegan said the corporation was delighted to stand behind the initiative.
"This is a fantastic project that will serve to empower disadvantaged young people through the use of technology. Football United is one of eight innovative, community-based organisations funded by the Telstra Foundation in 2011, for projects designed to promote social inclusion and connection in communities across the country," Mr Fegan said.
Football United founding director Anne Bunde-Birouste said she was thrilled by the support.
"Phillip Noyce got excited about the power of Football United last year when he saw our film, Football United, Passport to Hope [Foxtel Bio/North one]. This project is the perfect fit – combined with the Telstra grant, his support and engagement not only gives the participants the highest level of mentoring, it provides respect and recognition of their potential to develop and thrive."
Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) in Parramatta have partnered with Football United in this Digital Connections project and will provide techincal and educational support. Workshop facilitator Saber Baluch, an accomplished film maker and trainer - supported by ICE's Creative Enterprise Program - has been working with Football United participants in recent weeks.
Zarrin Aghdasi, a year 12 student at Miller Technology High School, introduced the guests and did an exceptional job speaking to the 500-strong crowd assembled at Miller. After her performance, Zarrin exclaimed "I'm excited to be part of Digital Connections project, as it will mean more opportunities for students to develop their multimedia production skills to help make their dreams come true". Alongside Zarrin, Football United youth leader and coach, Shahin Alanezi addressed the crowd and recored interviews during the launch. "I really like the idea of making films" he said. "It is a great way to express myself and my opinion in a peaceful and good way".
After the Launch, a select Telstra team, including Mr Fegan, took on select teams from Airds High School and Miller Technology High School in a hard fought futsal game. Granville South and Football United volunteers also took part, under the watchful eye of Football United Head Coach, Simon Bell.