GLLEN students benefit from Jones’ experience

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Bendigo Gold coach Aussie Jones with members of the Indigenous Boys Pathway program Josh Meagher, Taylor Gittins, Sam De Rosa, Adal Zuk and Brayden Gittins. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Bendigo Gold coach Aussie Jones with members of the Indigenous Boys Pathway program Josh Meagher, Taylor Gittins, Sam De Rosa, Adal Zuk and Brayden Gittins. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

WHILE he's best known as the coach of the Bendigo Gold, it's the involvement with programs such as The Indigenous Boys Pathway that highlight just how big a loss Aussie Jones will be to the community when he moves back to Melbourne.

As well as his two-year stint as coach of the Bendigo Gold - which will fold next month at the end of the VFL home and away season - Jones has immersed himself in the Bendigo community through a variety of programs.

One of which was the Goldfields Local Learning and Employment Network's Indigenous Boys Pathways program for Year 9-10 students.

The semester course aimed to assist young indigenous men prepare for transition to Bendigo senior secondary school and to enhance connection to the community through access to mentors and to develop physical and mental wellbeing.

"The program focussed on careers and pathways, healthy eating, fitness and team work, while reinforcing the indigenous culture with Dja Dja Wurrung mentors for the boys," Goldfields Local Learning and Employment Network partnership broker Simon Flood said on Wednesday.

"It helped the boys grow in confidence and awareness of indigenous culture."

Among the program sessions was a chance for the participants to take part in a football training session with Jones and Gold player Joe Redfern, a former rookie-listed player with the GWS Giants.

Redfern spoke about the dedication and sacrifices needed to make it at the elite level.

"Programs like this don't happen without the generosity of community members like Aussie Jones and we are very appreciative of that," Koorie Education support officer Matt Holmes said.

Jones received a certificate of appreciation.

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