Anja Barisic (AB): Can you tell us what the GIANTS Care Program is?
Ali Faraj (AF): GIANTS Care is a Club led initiative dedicated to enriching the lives of communities in Western Sydney through the delivery of meaningful and relevant social programming.
AB: What year did GIANTS Care first start?
AF: In early 2015 the GIANTS engaged with local government and key Western Sydney stakeholders to unearth the biggest issues facing youth, families and the broader community in this region.
Four priority areas were identified and were placed at the forefront of all program planning for our GIANTS Care initiatives.
GIANTS Care now provides a vehicle to deliver on the four key pillars of the Club's community agenda which are Health, Harmony, Education and Employment.
AB: How many people have been reached by the GIANTS Care program across Western Sydney?
AF: In 2012 the program reached 12,000 participants, in 2016 we reached 20,000 participants and currently in 2017 we are on track for 25,000 participants. So that is a total of around 57,000 participants over three years, a remarkable achievement.
AB: How has the program been able to reach so many participants?
AF: GIANTS Care would not be possible without the support and contribution of our Foundation Partners. We now have a total of 11 partners and each and every one of them contribute to the development and growth of the GIANTS Care.
AB: Can you give us an example of how one partner has impacted a program?
AF: Origin Energy have been with the GIANTS Care program since the beginning and their contribution to the Youth Eco Summit has been fantastic. The Youth Eco Summit is an award-winning sustainability education event held in Sydney Olympic park with and last year Origin ran their Silent Disco for students. To power the Silent Disco students had to “hand-crank” a device to keep the music pumping and light up the dance floor. This activation was a fun and engaging way to show the students how the generation of energy works.
Origin have been a fantastic supporter since the inception of GIANTS Care and their contribution has supported the running of over 100 various programs.
AB: What are the most memorable initiatives you’re proudest of?
AF: All the initiatives delivered through GIANTS Care leave a great memory with the participants and schools along with GIANTS staff and community members involved. The Iftar dinner is always a highlight on the GIANTS care calendar, and this year we had over 200 guest participate in a festival style feast with people from all different backgrounds, including our sponsors, community members and schools. The GIANTS Care Iftar Dinner is widely recognized throughout the footballing and wider community as being one of the best events on the calendar.
AB: What initiatives are you looking forward to rolling out this year?
AF: There are many exciting events to come for the remainder of the year. The one that will we believe will generate some excitement, especially with the inception of the Women AFL team and the Netball team, will be a conference targeted at young women. This conference will host an array of female speakers from a variety of backgrounds to inspire a diverse background of Western Sydney school girls.
Hear from Giants Head of Community, Ali Faraj on the recent projects they’ve been working on.