Ladder was set up by the AFL Players' Association and the AFL Foundation. The program was created by AFL players to tackle the issue of youth homelessness on our city streets.
Thank God for the Salvos (& Chaplaincy)
The story starts with several AFL players who volunteered to work with Melbourne's Salvation Army. The connection came from the Collingwood Sports Chaplain who also works for the Salvation Army. During their time on the streets, these players were deeply touched by the sight of children, as young as 13 years of age, living on the streets. The players were determined to make a difference.
With their initiative and the help of the AFLPA, ALF Foundation, and government support, they have been able to raise millions for housing and mentoring homeless youth. Ladder offers these young people hope, with integrated accommodation, support and other opportunities to make a lasting impact on their lives. The players' time is all volunteered and focuses on promoting self-growth and independence, as well as building the confidence and self-esteem of the children in need.
The Salvation Army in Melbourne have had a consistent number of sporting players and AFLPA staff helping out with their street mission. They don't do this out of obligation or because of a requirement of their club community work. They do it as voluntarily to make a difference in the lives of youth in need. Stories, such as Ladder, often miss the media spotlight because they lack the scandalous appeal of stories of players behaving badly. Be encouraged that stories like these are happening, and that AFL players are making a positive difference.