TFA Volunteer Of The Year Award 5 Web Hero (1)

Every now and then a story comes along, that lifts our collective spirits. This story is one of those inspirational tales highlighting the many virtues Touch Football has that are literally capable of changing lives.

Many of us have seen firsthand the inclusion power the All-Abilities program has had on participants. This is yet another example, albeit with a slightly different narrative; one of both volunteerism and participation, but the outcomes are the same.

National Volunteer Week recently shone a light on the vital role volunteers play throughout our community. For organisations like Touch Football Australia (TFA), it provided yet another opportunity for us to express our sincere gratitude to the 15,000 volunteers that are vital to our sport.

The benefits of volunteering to clubs and organisations are well documented. But equally as important are the personal benefits that are received from volunteering.

This is where our next Bristol Volunteer of the Month comes in. Isiah Keegan or Izzy as he’s more affectionally known, is an impressive young man.

Hailing from Darwin he’s had more than his fair share of challenges thrown at him over the first 18 years of life; to the point he found himself residing at a halfway home until suitable accommodation could be found for him. All this through no fault of his own, Izzy has experienced situations that most of us wouldn’t dare dream of.

Nonetheless and despite all this, Izzy has become a much-loved figure at Darwin Touch, and an advocate for the sport in a role that crucially has given him refuge, purpose and direction in his own life.

We chat to this remarkable young man and learn more how Touch Football has played a key role in transforming his life recently and how he’s using his newfound experience to mentor other kids from the top end.

Izzy, Congratulations on being named our Bristol Volunteer of the Month, can you tell us about how you became involved with Touch Football?

I first started at school in about year 7 when Touch Football NT delivered some clinics. Whilst I had fun, I played other sports for a while and didn’t pick up Touch again until the All-Abilities program was held at my school a few years later.

I liked that and ended up playing in a team at Palmerston Touch which was good fun.

Great stuff, and how did that lead to volunteering?

My teacher at school (special needs teacher Della, who happens to be the wife of TFNT State Manager Ian Bateman) was aware of my circumstances and asked if I wanted to help on competition nights. I enjoy hanging out there, so I said yes.

I’ve been a competition assistant for a couple of seasons now where I set up and pack down the venue, things like that.

I really enjoy it because you get to talk to people and help the community.

And you’ve recently become more involved with the sport?

Yes, I’ve recently become a Level 1 referee and jump on games to help where required. I also represented the NT in our first All-Abilities team at NTL this year.

Wow! What was it like travelling to Coffs Harbour and playing for the NT?

It was amazing to go down there and play other teams and see new places. We had a pretty good week finishing in third place with two wins and two losses.

But my best memories were off the field. Getting to know my teammates and the banter between us was fun. We all forged friendships off the field. Oh, and the food at Lime Mexican was pretty good too!

Now you played a leadership role on this tour as well?

Yeah, there were a few kids in our team that had never played the sport before, so a few of us that had acted as mentors on and off field for these guys.

Fantastic, what is it about Touch Footy that you enjoy?

Well, the free food I get on comp nights is pretty good!

I like getting involved in the community, getting to meet people and make new friends and I like helping juniors.

My job has given me something to do and I like being busy and helping others.

Helping others is a strong quality we’re seeing here Izzy. We heard a rumour that you also play a big role on the field helping your teams as well?

Um yeah, I shared the captaincy of our Darwin Touch team this season. We had a pretty good tournament making the semi-final for the first time.

We also played in the NT Titles in the Men’s Open competition which was good.

(Remember folks this is a team of all-abilities athletes participating within able bodied divisions, Izzy is being very modest!)

On their NT Titles performance, TFNT State Manager Ian Bateman adds “Izzy and his teammates are remarkable. It was seriously hot and they were up against full strength opposition but not once did they complain, they just got on with the job. They’re legends.”)

Izzy it sounds like you’ve jammed a lot into the last 18-months. What’s next?

I’d like to keep playing and refereeing and I’m looking forward to going to Coffs Harbour again.

I’m hoping I can get a full-time job now that I’ve got some experience under my belt.

Vom May

If you were to win the $5,000 prize what projects come to mind?

I’d use it on the Clubhouse up here.

As our volunteer of the Month, Bill is now eligible for the Bristol Paint TFA Volunteer of the Year (VOY) Award. The TFA VOY will receive paint to the value of $5,000 for a project of their choice, thanks to our friends at Bristol Paint.

DON’T FORGET  All Touch Footy participants are entitled to 15-20% OFF Bristol Paint products.  Download your exclusive discount card on our website, here.

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