Bell empowering the next generation of Indigenous youth
Last weekend, AFL NSW/ACT and Transport for NSW hosted the second Female Indigenous Youth Leadership Program at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence to encourage road safety awareness, leadership and well-being among young Indigenous women from around Australia.
Following the successful Adam Goodes Talent Program proudly supported by the NSW Government that worked with young men, AFL NSW/ACT was proud to deliver the second camp for girls alongside Indigenous Ambassadors James Bell and Delma Gisu.
Sydney Swans midfielder Bell, understands more than most the challenges facing the AFL and AFLW Indigenous playing groups in NSW.
A proud Aboriginal man, Bell first joined the AFL NSW/ACT Youth Indigenous Program as a player at the age of 14 and didn’t hesitate to get involved as an Ambassador when he was drafted in 2017.
“I had just starting playing football when I heard about the Indigenous Program, so I jumped at it straight away and then when I heard about being an ambassador for it when I got drafted I didn’t hesitate to jump at it again,” Bell said.
Particularly passionate about mentoring young Indigenous Australians in partnership with Transport for NSW, Bell says the players not only improved their knowledge on the field, but also took part in vital leadership and cultural sessions focused on road safety.
“This program is beneficial not only on the field but off it, we had Transport for NSW come in for a session and talk about road safety and bringing the mob home safe,” he said.
“I think the girls learnt a lot out of that, especially the statistics regarding Indigenous people and road safety around Australia, it was an eye opener for myself as well.”
Bell says his role as an Indigenous Ambassador gives him perspective on his career and shows just how privileged he is to be where he is today thanks to the support of the AFL NSW/ACT’s Indigenous program.
“I love being part of the Indigenous program’s with AFL NSW/ACT and the AFL as well, it’s a good opportunity for me to give something back.”
Serving as an inspiration for the Indigenous community, Bell has proven a positive role model for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people involved in Indigenous programs according to AFL NSW/ACT Indigenous Lead Mark Leavy.
“James is setting a positive example for young Indigenous kids, he’s also raising the bar when it comes to other athletes getting involved in the community,” Leavy said.
“Young Indigenous people need mentors and James and Delma have been exceptional in this capacity by sharing their story and experiences as young Indigenous athletes.
“These experiences are real and current, which make them so meaningful for the female athletes participating in our Indigenous programs.”