An Illawarra learning club which supports both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students with their studies after school hours was celebrated on Monday.
Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Corporation, in partnership with The Smith Family, Kemblawarra Public School and the St George Illawarra Dragons hosts the learning club at the Kemblawarra Community Hall.
Despite facing setbacks earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the club has been back in operation for the past seven weeks.
On Monday, organisers hosted a celebration to mark the end of the year, with some Dragons players dropping in to volunteer.
Indigenous Dragons player Jayden Sullivan grew up on Coomaditchie, and said he was pleased to give something back to the local community and help the students with their homework.
"It just shows how good I have it really, (to) come back and see all the kids coming through," he said.
"They look up to me like when I was looking up to Johnathan Thurston and players like that.
"This is my first time being here (at the learning club), but I've heard a lot about it."
Darren Brady, programs co-ordinator for The Smith Family said the learning club was attended by about 20 children each Monday, from Kindergarten to Year 6.
Following the program's successful return after the temporary shutdown, he said it would return in 2021.
However, organisers are currently seeking more indigenous mentors to help out with the program.
If you are able to assist, visit www.thesmithfamily.com.au/get-involved/volunteer.
Meanwhile, The Smith Family is calling on Australians to band together this Christmas to ensure that thousands of students living in disadvantage can return to their learning in 2021.
One way you can help is by making a donation to help more students access the learning and mentoring programs they need.
For more details, visit www.thesmithfamily.com.au/sharechristmas.
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.