Ignite was started in 2010 to serve a local secondary school in response to a recognised need for sports programs and mentors. The school, Keysborough College (formally Heatherhill SC at the time) is located in the City of Greater Dandenong, one of the most culturally diverse cities in Australia with 10,000 refugees. In that year, a survey was conducted at the school:
The survey found that 80% of students did not participate in sports programs and of those who didn’t play sport, 70% would if they were given an opportunity.
The survey also found the most common reasons for not participating were costs, transport and parental permission. Ignite sought to partner with the school to provide opportunities providing local low cost programs. Jeff Andrews, co-founder and director, who was working in the wellbeing team of the school says:
“Boys would get referred to me with their anger issues and didn’t want to talk so we would go shoot some baskets or kick a soccer ball- it wouldn’t take long until they were talking. I found sport to be a powerful platform to build relationship and for mentoring”.
In the early days, it was Jeff Andrews, Jay Sawyer and Ness Westh who assisted in coaching school basketball teams. In 2011, they raised enough money to take 10 students to Perth for a week long basketball tournament participating in the Australian Baptist Basketball Carnival.
This launched the basketball program and over the next few years, many players signed up with Ignite to play in the KBL.
Ignite Dance was also part of the vision and adopted into the tag line. We saw the interest and the opportunity. Dance can provide incredible teamwork disciplines and in a healthy environment can be an awesome tool to mentor young people. Unfortunately we are yet to launch a dance program! However -
Since its creation, Ignite has seen hundreds of local young people be supported through its programs and camps.
In 2014, Ignite Soccer was launched and is now our most popular weekly program. This year – 2016 – we launch Ignite Rite mentoring. Through group mentoring, we hope to help many young people become the most whole version of themselves.
This is the beginning of the story - why not join us for the next chapter.