STAWELL - Students at Skene Street Specialist School received a pleasant surprise when the Founding Director of the innovative Footys4All program, Michael Gallus, paid a visit.
Each student at the school was presented with a gift pack from Mr Gallus on behalf of Footys4All, which included a new ball of their choice, a John Harms football almanac, a Cedevita sports drink and a packet of band-aids from Green-Aid.
Mr Gallus and his family were on hand to conduct football clinics with the students, taking them through a series of kicking and handpassing drills, along with making use of the tackle bags which were often held by teachers at the school.
When Mr Gallus himself held onto the tackle bag, the students received great pleasure when they were able to knock him over with a big hip and shoulder.
Skene Street School was the first school in the Wimmera to benefit from Footys4All. The visit by Mr Gallus and his family followed several conversations between the founder and school principal Robyn Anyon, which culminated in a dinner meeting in October last year.
Mr Gallus agreed he would return and present each student with a prize pack, with a special award being received by student Matt.
The Footys4All Foundation is a volunteer not for profit children's sporting foundation, which supplies new sporting balls from all codes, including footballs, netballs, rugby balls, basketballs and soccer balls, to disadvantaged, underprivileged or socially displaced children around Australia and across the world free of charge.
Mr Gallus, who speaks on behalf of the thousands of people worldwide who support the foundation, said the foundation's focus was on making a difference and providing opportunities for children.
"The foundation is using the stimulus of a new ball to transform children's lives, by delivering hope and a sporting opportunity to those children who are currently missing out through no fault of their own," Mr Gallus said.
Mr Gallus, who is a teacher at Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School, said it wasn't difficult to make the connection between sport and education, as giving children the best start in life.
He said the biggest thrill for him when visiting schools such as Skene Street, was seeing the smiles on the faces of all the students.
With support from some sporting goods manufacturers, including Ross Faulkner Sporting Goods who have donated $50,000 worth of balls for distribution, Michael continues to make the dreams of students throughout Australia, including those at Skene Street Specialist School, come true.