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'Out of the Box'; NGC Students Develop Healthy Habits through New Outreach Program

In late 2023, NGC established the 'Out of the Box' initiative. This is all about using boxing and physical activity as a way for students to build healthy habits, regulate themselves and build their confidence and self-discipline. Boxing has been part of NGC's suite of wellbeing activities for many years, since Brad Hardman (our Education Support Officer and former pro-boxer) first came to NGC. But Out of the Box has extended this into a comprehensive outreach program. It was first devised by our Case Manager, Lee, for students who were suspended for short periods of time or who were experiencing difficulties during the school holidays. They needed a way to stay connected to the school and their peers, and to keep up a positive, consistent daily routine. Since then, it has expanded to a wider NGC crew and quickly become a staple for many of our young people. The premise is simple but highly impactful. Lee and Brad pick up interested students in the morning before the sun is up, take them through a program of boxing training and gym-based workouts at our school's facilities and cook a filling breakfast before they start their classes for the day.

We have been so impressed with the Out of the Box crew's dedication and enthusiasm, even putting their hands up for weekend sand-dune runs, countless early starts and DIY ice baths. They have surprised themselves with their capabilities and have continued to build on their foundational skills and fitness. As well as flow-on effects in the classroom like improved concentration and better self-regulation when under pressure, we have also heard from our young people's families that they're displaying more confidence, calm and motivation at home too. Excitingly, we invited family members to a dinner catch-up after NGC's parent/teacher night to give them a tour of the school gym and connect over pizza, conversation and plenty of laughs.

In addition to training at our school, Brad has used his professional network to connect our crew with multiple pro boxers from Sydney and the Central Coast. This has involved meeting athletic legends like Luke Jackson, Tim Tsyzu, Oscar Doane, Jeff Fenech, Hass Hamdan, Max Beer, Anthony Mundine and Isaac Hardman, all of whom offered our students so much inspiration and encouragement. Recently, we also had the chance to meet the Sydney Roosters NRL team at a training session and hear from Gomeroi and Wodi Wodi man, rapper and storyteller, Kobie Dee.

We have so far been lucky enough to train in facilities like Westside Boxing Gym, Woolloomooloo PCYC, Joe's Boxing Gym, Kingdom Martial Arts Umina, BoxFitt Gym Windsor, Kincumber gSix Boxing Gym, the Eastern Suburb Gym and Hardcore Gyms Sydney. These trips across the Central Coast and Sydney have also resulted in plenty of other new experiences like eating out at iconic venues like Caffe Roma and exploring the city.

NGC would also like to acknowledge the support to date of Rhino Mouthguards in Clovelly, Sydney City Lexus, Nutrition Capital Umina, Athelite and streetwear brand Geed Up Co. From 'fresh new 'fits' to custom mouth-guards to protein drinks and supplements, these businesses have taken the time to not only donate but meet our crew and cheer them on.

NGC has been so fortunate to receive grant funding from the Rotary Club of Kariong/Somersby and the Rotary Club of Umina Beach to continue the program throughout Term 2. We can’t wait to see how it grows over the coming months! Finally, a big thank you to Lee and Brad for being the driving forces behind Out of the Box; your creativity, commitment and unconditional support is making a huge difference in the lives of our young people. 


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