The Clontarf Foundation exists to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander men. The Foundation uses a unique, innovative and highly successful approach; using the existing passion that these boys have for sport allows Clontarf to initially attract them to school, and then keep them coming. It is not a sporting program however – it develops the values, skills and abilities that will assist the boys to transition into meaningful employment and achieve better life outcomes.
The Foundation collaborates with schools and communities to create Clontarf Academies that are embedded within the school grounds and education program. Full-time, locally-based Clontarf staff mentor and counsel students on a range of behavioural and lifestyle issues while the school caters for their education needs. Any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander male enrolled at the school is eligible to participate in the Academy.
Through the use of supportive relationships and environment, the students develop improved self-esteem and confidence which enables them to participate in education, employment and society in a positive way. Academy activities are planned within the focus areas of education, leadership, employment, well-being, life skills and sport. In order to remain in the programme, participants must continue to work at school and embrace the objectives of the Foundation.
This approach has been very successful, not only in attracting and retaining young men to school, but also in having them embrace more disciplined, purposeful and healthy lifestyles.