NRL partner with NSW Government to help regional teenagers

The NRL has helped launch the NSW Government’s Project Pathfinder today in Moree as it continues to work to provide diversionary pathways for ‘at risk’ young people across NSW.

Project Pathfinder is a partnership between the NSW Police Force, National Rugby League (NRL) and Youth Justice NSW, and will provide at risk teenagers from regional areas with mentorships and opportunities to reach their potential.

The program will see young people provided with unique access to the NRL environment and an NRL mentor to support and engage with their families.

Three teenagers from Bourke, Lightning Ridge and Moree have recently completed the pilot program and will be recognised for their selection and efforts at the program launch today. They have already met their mentors, set goals with appointed NSW Police Force Youth Engagement Officers and attended this month’s NRL’s Multicultural Round.

Following the launch today the NRL will also host a skills clinic for local Moree public schools at Boughton Oval, with the help of NRL and NRLW players Latrell Mitchell, Cody Walker, Quincy Dodd and Rhiannon Byers.

Today’s launch follows the Government’s march announcement of a $26.2 million package of reforms and initiatives to support community safety and wellbeing in regional NSW, with a focus on strengthening early intervention and prevention programs for young people.

Work has commenced in concert with the Moree community to progress local reforms and programs, with rollout expected to commence in the coming months.

Premier Chris Minns said: “Project Pathfinder is an innovative example of how the Government can work with community partners to support young people stay on the right track and pursue their goals. I commend the young people who have already commenced in the program for their dedication and hard work so far.

“Sport is an invaluable tool in a young person’s life which teaches them vital lessons about teamwork and leadership. I want to thank the NRL for their partnership with the NSW Government on this program, and for the time their players are dedicating to provide mentorship to our states young people.”

Australian Rugby League Chairman Peter V’landys AM said: “Rugby league is more than just a sport. It changes lives for the better. The players know how important their role is in society and it is always great to see the impact they make.

“Project Pathfinder is an important initiative designed to turn the lives of at-risk youths around through mentorship and leadership. I’m very proud of the role which rugby league plays in society and this is another great example.”

Minister for Police Yasmin Catley said: “Our police go above and beyond to support their communities and Project Pathfinder is another example of that tireless commitment.

“I’ve travelled to many regional towns since becoming Minister and seen first-hand the incredible work out officers do on a local level, but they can’t do it alone. Everyone has a part to play when it comes to breaking the cycle.

Project Pathfinder is about bringing young people, police and community together and using the power of sport to give our kids the best shot at living happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Yasmin Catley, Minister for Police

“I thank the NSW Police Force, the NRL and the players for their willingness to give their scarce time back to regional communities and our young people.”

Minister for Youth Justice Jihad Dib said: “I want to congratulate the NRL and Government agencies for working together on an initiative which shows what can be achieved when we all work towards shared goals to give young people every opportunity to succeed. Through Youth Justice NSW we have a strong track record working with the NRL on initiatives that provide positive role models and mentorship through a shared connection with rugby league.

“Early intervention and diversion is crucial; we need to do this in a way that keeps the community safe while young people’s lives can be set on a more positive path.”

/NRL Public Release. View in full here.