Youth program slam dunks Australia Day awards
GRAFTON Midnight Basketball volunteers and participants jumped for joy at the Clarence Valley Australia Day Awards when they were given the Community Achievement Award for their work with disadvantaged youth.
Committee chair Michele Rumph said the group was ecstatic about the award.
"We're just so excited and honoured and really proud of Midnight Basketball, it's come a long way and it's finally getting the recognition it deserves," Ms Rumph said.
Grafton Midnight Basketball is a program that keeps youth off the street where they can feel safe and have fun.
"It's run by a bunch of volunteers and runs for eight weeks at a time, where our youth can have a nutritious hot meal, complete a life skills workshop and play basketball, then we drop them to their door by midnight," Ms Rumph said.
"This Australia Day award is fantastic for Midnight Basketball ... it will give us a bit of coverage that will help us get the world out there. It's such a fantastic program.
"We're all passionate about it, we all absolutely love it and with all the smiles on the kids faces on the night, you'd know exactly why we all do it.
"They are safe, they're happy, they get a good feed, they get to play basketball, it's just really well organised and well run. It's just a fantastic program."
With their new season starting up in February, Grafton Midnight Basketball is searching for new volunteers to help keep the program going.
"We couldn't do it without the generous people we have (working with us)," Ms Rumph said. "We have Clarence Community Transport, New School of Arts to get the kids there and back in the buses every night. Lois Robinson feeds them all, she does an amazing job, the kids all love her food and Grafton Sports Centre, without them we wouldn't be able to play basketball."
If you'd like to sign up as a volunteer for Grafton Midnight Basketball, visit: https://www.midnightbasketball.org.au/grafton.