Basketball great teams up to help locals in need

Perth Wildcats Captain and WA Charity Direct Ambassador Damian Martin recently teamed up with St Stephen’s School to present $25,000 worth of donations to local recipients.

The donations are the result of a pilot program launched by WA Charity Direct with St Stephen’s School, which enabled a group of the School’s students, from both the Duncraig and Carramar campuses, to research and choose the recipients of the money to be donated by WA Charity Direct.

Mr Martin originally contacted St Stephen’s School about creating and testing a pilot program after hearing of the School’s extensive opportunities surrounding service learning and community work.

He said the program allowed him and WA Charity Direct to collaborate with students over a series of workshops and brainstorming sessions while helping them to develop their philanthropic experience.

“It’s about teaching children that you’re never too young to start helping people in your environment. Whether it’s just helping your neighbour or someone at school, you can always improve your surroundings,” Mr Martin said.

“It’s contagious - that enthusiasm, that want to help. I was very much a part of it, but the kids really were the main story. I’ve loved the concept, I’ve loved the experience of working with the St Stephen’s School students, and it’s something that I hope continues.”

St Stephen’s School Service Learning Coordinator Donna Lund said being part of the WA Charity Direct pilot program enabled students to continue to service the wider community, and broaden their exposure to service learning.

“The whole program is invaluable for us as a School; it’s just complemented what we’re already doing in the community,” she said.

“The students have loved it… from the researching and business-minded skills they picked up, hearing a range of people’s stories and meeting the people they were helping and seeing how happy they are is what made it for them.”

Local charity Vincent’s Project, which was launched by a young boy to help those suffering from homelessness via packing and giving bags filled with blankets and other necessities to the homeless, received a $16,500 donation from the WA Charity Direct pilot program. This money equates to enough to pack and pass on 250 bags for homeless people in Perth.

A wheelchair was also donated to a local family in need and a tech package including iPads and a camera was donated to disability service provider Rocky Bay.

Rocky Bay Assistant Manager Bridget Carr said the organisation was ecstatic to be given beneficial and useful items.  

“Presenting these iPads today, it’s going to give our guys a voice. It’s going to give them the opportunity to make decisions. It’s going to open up a whole new world to them,” she said.

St Stephen’s School will meet with WA Charity Direct in the coming weeks to create a program plan that could be rolled out to other schools and become a regular feature on the St Stephen’s School calendar.

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