Liam Flanagan, Boarding Coordinator, Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS)
For Richmond Institute of Sports Leadership (RISL) student, Liam Flanagan, his own life experience of needing to create a home away from home helped him to discover his passion for youth mentoring and support.
Originally from Darwin in the Northern Territory, Flanagan moved to Victoria for three years to complete his high school education at boarding school, and understood the challenges of living away from home and community at a young age.
Flanagan said it was key components of the RISL course that he realised his passion for youth mentoring and wellbeing.
“After hearing a guest speaker from Richmond talk about their role as a wellbeing and support person for the football players, it re-ignited my passion to work with children as a mentor,” Flanagan said.
“I also completed some of my work experience hours with the Tiger PAW program and the Bachar Houli Cup which are programs for kids, and I really enjoyed that side of it.”
Juggling full time work with full time study, at times Flanagan found it a challenge to manage both, but found his own support network with RISL staff, Damien Villarosa, David Bastian and Belinda Gay helping him to find ways to manage the workload.
Although RISL is delivered in partnership with Swinburne University, Flanagan enjoyed the practical, more hands-on learning approach to the course.
During his studies, Flanagan learnt more about the Richmond Football Club, its Indigenous Centre, the Korin Gamadji Institute (KGI) and the KGI’s partner, the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS).
MITS is a transition school for Indigenous boys and girls (around Year Seven age) who come to live at their boarding house in Richmond. They to go school inside the Richmond Football Club each day, where they study a curriculum focused on numeracy and literacy.
Nearing completion of his course, Flanagan saw a full time Boarding Coordinator role available at MITS, applied for the role and got the job.
His responsibilities involve staying overnight at MITS’ boarding house a few nights a week to care for the students. He also spends time with the students after school, helping them with homework, and taking them to after school activities like football training.
“I really love the opportunity that MITS provides to Indigenous youth, an opportunity for education at a transition school can really help them to adjust to life in the big city,” he said.
“Having lived away from home myself, I know the challenges, and things that worked for me to cope, so the mentoring and wellbeing components of the course really resonated with me.”
Loving life at MITS, Flanagan also has long-term aspirations to find a wellbeing or mentoring role at a sports club in the future.
Registrations and information about Open Days for Richmond’s Institute of Sports Leadership 2019 course is available now.