Mariella champions diversity and inclusion at Itiki

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Founder and creator of the Itiki Sporting Club in Melbourne’s north, Mariella Teuira saw the need to provide an avenue for young people from multicultural backgrounds and youth at risk to engage in a positive, supportive environment.

The Itiki Sporting Club has 200 participants with 60 of those, ranging from 4-55 years old, playing netball. All fees are covered by fundraising and sponsors, no strings attached: “You’ll get parents who say ‘we can’t afford it…for the first time it’s for free then after that, there’s a catch.’ And I’ll say ‘there’s no catch. The only catch we have is that you be committed to you team and to yourself.”

Like many community netball champions, Mariella is the heart and soul of the Itiki Sporting Club. In addition to her role as head coach, team manager, organising uniforms, scoring, timekeeping and still playing herself, Mariella also helps families by picking players up from school and dropping them home after training. “We make sure we work with the families to remove all the barriers so that all young person can give it a go.”

Mariella believes in bettering each player, not only as netballers but as members of the community saying, “There’s more to netball than just netball… you watch their confidence grow as a person and you think wow, we did that.”

Her commitment to her community goes far beyond sports programs. Under Mariella’s leadership, the Itiki Sporting Club has created a food bank and distributes food parcels to local families in need. Mariella has also built a community garden that directly adjoins the netball courts, providing another source of fresh fruit and vegetables for the local community.

As an Individual winner in the 2016 Australia Post One Netball Community Awards, Mariella received a Load & Go card valued at $1000 for the club and $500 for individual use, as well as a signed netball from the Australian Netball Diamonds. Mariella was presented with her Award by Australia Post One Netball Ambassadors Geva Mentor and Sheree Marks at their clubhouse in Glenroy, where players were treated to a netball clinic before sharing dinner with their families.

Congratulations to Mariella on winning an Australia Post One Netball Community Award.

To find out how your club or association can get involved with the One Netball program, visit onenetball.org.au.