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Nurturing Growth and Connection

Mariam Taleb

19 Jan 2024

Abdullah's Journey with Huddle Up! Junior

Huddle Up! Junior, a program situated at The Hub in Docklands, is on a mission to enrich the lives of primary school-aged children. The program not only seeks to increase physical activity levels but also endeavors to build social connections, instill new skills, and create a profound sense of belonging for its participants.

Huddle Up! Junior addresses the challenge of the limited availability of activities for children to stay active and socialise in a secure environment after school, especially for families like Abdullah's, who are new to Australia and unfamiliar with the area.

Abdullah is a 8-year-old boy who, along with his parents, arrived in Australia from Saudi Arabia in 2020. The family's primary purpose was to pursue education and obtain degrees. Having accomplished their academic goals in 2023, Abdullah's parents recently returned to Saudi Arabia in January of 2024.

Abdullah and his mother, Amal, attended Huddle Up! at Docklands every Tuesday. Amal first learned about the program at Docklands Primary School and is delighted that Abdullah could participate in a variety of sports and engaging activities each week. She expressed that she found joy in seeing Abdullah play with other children, make new friends, and extend those connections to school.

Abdullah's father has expressed gratitude for the additional activities that the Huddle has involved the family in. A standout moment was their participation in the AFLW Grand Final, where Abdullah had the opportunity to run out through the banner as the junior mascot for The Huddle. For Abdullah, this experience was not only his favourite but also the most memorable with The Huddle, evident in the uncontainable smile on his face on the day.

He shared that the diversity of sports he engages in keeps him returning to the Tuesday program. Some sports are entirely new to him, and the coaches, especially his favourite, Maz, make it easy for him to connect with both them and fellow participants.

Abdullah's time with Huddle Up! Junior has cultivated a sense of fun, the building of connections with peers, a heightened sense of belonging within the community, and the confidence to embrace new experiences. As Abdullah returns to Saudi Arabia, he carries with him not just memories, but a stockpile of new skills and games acquired during his time in Australia.

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