Southern Youth and Family Services are proud of their commitment to support the regions 2 national sporting clubs, in the Illawarra Hawks and St George Illawarra Dragons. SYFS has partnered with the Dragons for a number of years, while the Hawks partnership is now in its 4th season, with both providing unique opportunities to further enrich the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable young people.

This year alone, young indigenous students were treated to visits from Dragons players Josh Kerr and Shakiah Tungai who attended and participated in the SYFS Indigenous Program, which aims to strengthen the student's cultural identities, self-esteem and confidence as well as teaching all-important living and social skills.

Former Dragons winger and New Zealand International Jason Nightingale also attended a lunch during Homelessness week, where he spoke to young people about his own struggles as a young person while he was coming up through the ranks. He also threw the footy around with the young people who greatly enjoyed the experience.

Former Dragons Centre and Australian International Matt Cooper were in attendance during last this month’s Youth and Family Awards ceremony to share in the joy of the winners and present them with their Awards and along with specially donated gift packs provided by the Club. The Club also generously sponsors an Award category and provides SYFS with a signed team jersey for a raffle prize which helped ensure that funds raised from this year's raffle exceeded last years mark by a whopping 25%.

SYFS was also given the opportunity to be the Game Charity Partner for one of the Dragons Wollongong home games and assist in raising funds via the 50/50 raffle, therefore, earning close to 50% of all money raised on the night.

With the Hawks season having season just begun, SYFS is proud to once again be the Clubs Official Charity Partner and work closely with the Hawks staff to continue to raise much needed funds. In recent years funds have been raised by the Hawks and donated to SYFS via raffles, auctions and even game ticket sales. The young people have also had the chance to get up close and personal with Hawks players and Coaches via exclusive training camps and VIP experiences during games.

This season there will be a number of fundraising initiatives rolled out including 2 game night charity partnership 50/50 raffles, a memorabilia auction in the New Year, a game-night VIP Experience for young people and exclusive training session / shoot-around.

SYFS also has the Hawks young rookie sensation Angus Glover as it’s an ambassador for the season and amongst other things, Angus will be visiting and assisting with young students currently studying in the Hospitality program.

The value of these mutually beneficial partnerships cannot be understated both in the positive impact they have on the young people and staff and also the awareness and much needed funds that SYFS is able to generate via leveraging these relationships.

We wait eagerly for the resumption of the new NRL Season next year to once again partner with and cheer on our Dragons and look forward to cheering on and working closely with the Hawks through the remainder of their season.