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Variety team-up with Empowering Youth program

SATURDAY’s Showdown will carry added significance, not just for the new shield and medal to be presented on the day but also for the teenager who is going to present them.

A few short years ago, teenager Ryley Maurovic was considering leaving school, but the northern suburbs student is now nearing the end of his year 12 studies and dreaming of a career in health and fitness, and it’s all thanks to a program run by the Port Adelaide Football Club’s community arm, Power Community Limited.

“Being involved in the Empowering Youth program has helped me a lot from when I was disengaged and didn’t know what I want to do,” Riley said.

“Being involved in a program like that has helped me to set my mind on track and give me a lot of career pathways and has given me a lot of career options and choices in life.

“I’m currently studying year 12 at Mark Oliphant College and I am about to finish my SACE so it has helped me to keep on going with my education.”

On Saturday night, Ryley’s journey will culminate with another opportunity, when he will present the new Variety Showdown Shield to the victorious team.

He is hoping he will be handing it over to Port Adelaide captain Travis Boak.

The new shield is part of a partnership formed between the Port Adelaide Football Club, Adelaide Football Club and the children’s charity Variety.

The shield’s most prominent feature is the enduring image of brothers Shane and Troy Bond embracing after Showdown II in 1997.

“I’m quite excited,” Ryley said about being chosen to hand the shield over.

“I feel very privileged to be the one who is going to be able to hand the shield over after Saturday’s game.

“I’m more excited than I am nervous though but hopefully we get a good close game and Port Adelaide wins.”

The three-year partnership with Variety will see funding provided to Power Community Limited’s Empowering Youth Program, which works with disengaged young people across South Australia.

The program encourages participants to take responsibility for their lives by making positive decisions regarding their education, health, lifestyle, finances and career paths.

Port Adelaide’s Executive General Manager Matthew Richardson said Ryley was a perfect example of the good that is being achieved by Empowering Youth.

“We’re a community football club and Power Community Limited do an enormous amount of work in the community,” he said.

“Variety will be partnering with our Empowering Youth program which will allow us to continue to engage with youth and kids in the community who are disengaged from school and hopefully try to re-engage those kids and get them back into mainstream school programs.

“Ryley engaged with our Empowering Youth program a number of years ago and he was probably going to drop out of school, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do in life, and through the work that our fantastic community team do, he’s re-engaged and now is about to finish year 12.

“He’s got a really clear direction of what he wants to do with himself and it’s a great example of some of the work that our staff and players do and our three-year partnership with Variety will allow us to continue that fantastic work.”

Variety will use the partnerships with both football clubs to promote the good that the charity does for children who are sick, disadvantaged or live with special needs around the state.

Variety’s Chief Executive Officer Mark McGill said the charity helped more than 33,600 children in need each year in South Australia and working with the clubs would help educate others about the work being done.

“The partnership and the shield are not only an information and education platform, but also that we use it as a revenue raising platform, and there’ll be the opportunity for supporters of both teams to support Variety in the lead up to the game and also on gameday,” he said.

“The really important thing is that there is some really fantastic work being done in Port Adelaide’s programs so from our perspective being a partner with the clubs is a fantastic and obvious initiative.”

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