More than 100 young people sweated out one of the warmer September days on record in the name of unity last week.
The eighth annual Com4Unity Cup soccer gala day enjoyed its best attendance yet with eight organisations entering a total of 10 teams on September 20.
Evans High School left as champions for the third year running, but the day was about much more than sport.
Founded in 2009, Com4Unity is a collaborative effort between police, Rotary and youth organisations across Blacktown. Their soccer day is one of the best opportunities for young people to come together and see all of the support available.
Youth Off The Streets again hosted the competition. Blacktown program manager Marisa Mya Bouasengphachanh said they put in extra effort this year to involve as many organisations as possible.
“The aim is to develop a pathway for young people to become meaningful participants in their community. This day helps them link in with local services, and with us knowing that’s the objective, we really believe in the Com4Unity Cup so we went the extra mile this year,” she said.
Productivity Bootcamp and Warakirri College were involved for the first time, along with regulars including Marist180, SydWest Multicultural Services and Hillsong Youth Services.
“It’s really important that we work together because we work in the community. For us to have contacts and have relationships with other local services is wonderful,” Ms Mya said. “Com4Unity itself represents our community coming together and working together because it’s not about us, it’s about the young people. And we’re all in it to help the young people of Blacktown.”
Com4Unity itself represents our community coming together and working together because it’s not about us, it’s about the young people.Marisa Bouasengphachanh
Blacktown Police youth liaison officer Nathan McDonald said it was important to have a wide range of organisations to address the complex needs of young people dealing with family violence and breakdown, substance abuse, and disengagement with work and education.
“The beauty of it is all the groups working together,” he said. “There’s the occasional argument on the pitch but all the youth are getting along, dancing in the breaks and having a good time.
“It’s great to see so many young people involved in something so positive.”