AFL SportsReady’s Cal Bruton awarded an Order of Australia
National Basketball League Legend Cal Bruton has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his extraordinary service to disadvantage youth and to sport in Australia.
Sport is a powerful driver of meaning in a child’s life. For disadvantaged youth, sport breaks down barriers, gives meaning and creates pathways to improved education, health and employment.
Cal Bruton knows this first hand through his own lived experience and through decades of experience working with disadvantaged youth in Australia.
“Inequity and disadvantage exist across our nation. It’s something we must talk about and we must take action to address,” Cal says.
“The time for lip service is gone, we need real action. We need to actively work to remove the barriers for disadvantaged youth, to get them into sport.
“Experience shows that by giving our young people opportunities in sport, they gain pathways to good health, education and employment. We’re talking about better life outcomes for kids who can too easily fall through the cracks. As sports stars, sporting clubs and people with influence, we can change the lives of young people for the better.
“I’m honoured to be awarded an Order of Australia to shine a light on my work with disadvantaged youth. In shining a light on this work I want to show that if we want to truly lift up others, we need to put in the hard work. We need to create opportunities for those who don’t have the skills to create or gain opportunities themselves.
“Through Bruton Basketball, the Black Pearl Academy and through my new Foundation (to be announced soon). I want to increase opportunities and showcase what I see every day when I work with the youth of Australia—that ‘team work makes the dream work’.
“In a time when across the world and across our country we are seeing increases in division, sport teaches us about unity. Now, more than ever, we need to work to bring people together.”
Cal is vocal about the racism he has experienced over his life and career, and he openly advocates for all of us to face our discomfort and engage in conversations. And to take actions that can break down the walls of division.
In being awarded an Order of Australia today, Cal encourages everyone to take a moment to focus on the passions that drive them. “Ask yourself: Do you want to be on the dream team creating opportunities for others?”, he says.
“In the words of Mandy Hale: ‘To make a difference in someone’s life you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful or perfect. You just have to care’.
“When we lead from compassion, we can make a difference. I thank the Governor General and the Council for the Order of Australia for this great honour. I am humbled and grateful, and I will continue to act and stand for equality and opportunities for all.”
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Image: Cal on his travels across Indigenous communities
To listen to Cal’s interview with AFL SportsReady CEO, James Montgomery, on his experience with racism and his fight for equality click here.
Featured below is a video of Cal plying his trade while speaking about what the 4th quarter represents to him.
4th quarter from AFL SportsReady on Vimeo.