The power of a story, well-told and with compelling characters, can have a powerful impact beyond the page. It was one such story in The Age, a story of friendship and resilience united through a shared love of sport that prompted one reader to act. She was so moved by what she read, she made a donation.
The story that sparked the donation featured Peter Abraham and Dave Gunstone, and the Y Streetball program they developed with the YMCA team at the North Melbourne Community Centre.
Y Streetball is a drop-in basketball group for people experiencing homelessness or disadvantage. With an emphasis on building friendships and participation, the no commitment, no uniforms, no skill format creates a space where people who are often marginalised can find a sense of belonging.
The donor, who wished to remain anonymous, explained why the story of Y Streetball and the friendship forged on the basketball court inspired her act of generosity.
A sports-lover herself, she understood the power that sport, and team sport in particular, has to bring people together. She felt everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy that camaraderie, regardless of circumstances and wanted to do her part in making that happen.
“For many people, sport and recreation are probably what they remember most from their childhood. Participation or watching sport is a large part of people's lives. It provides release, fitness, a way of escaping from worries and frankly, something good to yell about.
“I loved the article and sport is good for almost everyone. If people want to play, at whatever level, there should be a way,” she said.
This Y Streetball fan’s contribution will keep the program running and help it grow. Mr Gunstone, who has experienced life on the streets, said the program has the potential to make a significant, positive impact on people’s lives. He and Mr Abraham, with support from the YMCA team at North Melbourne, have plans to expand the program, which already welcomes an average of eight players a week.
"We've got an understanding of what it’s like to be out there. Now we're putting up our hands and saying let’s try and make things better for people.
“If we make this bigger, we could open doors for them and change stuff," he said.