Recently we welcomed St. Kilda AFLW player and Emerging Leaders Group member, Tarni White to the Community Partnerships team at Ladder as Development Coach.

With Tarni's experience as an AFLW player as well as being a personal trainer, she has brought both her passion and drive to work with young people in our Ladder programs.

Tarni reflected on her first day working at Ladder and has been kicking goals ever since.

My first day working for Ladder, Brittany, Michael, and I ventured out to Melton on a brisk Tuesday morning. The session was held for 3 hours and was broken down in to two hour and a half sessions. In the first session, we presented SMART goals and worked with the young people individually to help set up some long- term and short-term goals for them to be able to work towards achieving in the coming weeks. I was quite nervous but really excited for the opportunity to be able to work with the young people on a more personal level to be able to help them understand SMART goals and how they can implement it into their lives.

While Brit was having a conversation with the young people about SMART goals, I noticed they were all shy and reserved. It was quite difficult to know if they were engaged in what Brit was talking about. We then had a lunch break and finished off the second part of the session with a fun activity outside in the fresh air called Finska, where we broke up into partners and versed each other. My goal was to form a relationship with one of the young people I was partnered with and get to know him better whilst also having lots of fun in the activity. By the end of session one, I recognised how much they had opened to Brit, Michael and myself and how much laughter was being thrown around, they all thanked us at the end and were excited to come back for the next session.

Two weeks later, it was already the fifth and final session for the Melton Djerriwarrh program. The final session was all about preparing for a mock interview for their desired job. I must say, I was impressed when the young people all walked into the room, they had their hair neat and tidy, collared shirts and suit pants on. Everyone in the room had smiles from cheek-to-cheek, I felt so proud to have worked with them and to see the individual growth ranging from confidence, effective communication, teamwork, and goal setting. Brit, Michael, and I walked away from the last session knowing that they were ready for their job interviews and to be able to sustain them.
For me it was an incredible experience to see how well the Ladder program was facilitated and I walked out feeling so much joy to be able to have had a positive impact on the young people’s lives in a short amount of time.