Grand Final Dreams Come True For Walid
This year, GWS Giants trainee, Walid Kurdi, has had two of his dreams come true – Working for an AFL club and attending the 2019 Grand Final.
“Going to the grand final with the people I work with was a surreal experience and something I never thought I would get to do,” said Walid, who began his Certificate III in Business traineeship at GWS as Community Engagement Officer this year – a day after his 18th birthday.
“I am so proud to work for this club and to see how far we have come. A lot of people doubted us along the way, but we made it to the grand final and despite the result, it’s been a real honour to be a part of this journey.”
“However, I need to thank my traineeship because I don’t think this all would be possible if I didn’t sign up 6 months ago,” he smiled.
“Honestly, the whole traineeship experience and now this has been the best journey of my life.”
“I also met with the players after the game which made the whole experience even more unbelievable,”
Before taking on a traineeship, Walid had already enrolled into a University course, but he felt working at an AFL Club was an offer he couldn’t resist.
“When I saw the opportunity, I decided to just go for it and 2 or 3 days later I had a phone call from AFL SportsReady to meet with them.”
“I thought to myself – do I take this or go back to Uni?”
“One of my mentors said to me – Walid, trust me, this traineeship is something you will not regret.”
“He was right, not only do I not regret it, but it’s the best thing I have ever done.”
Having never worked in an office environment Walid was nervous when he first started at GWS, but it wasn’t long until his teammates welcomed him into the family.
“At first I was worried about working in an office – what if coughed or sneezed and disrupted the whole team,” laughed Walid.
“But it wasn’t like that at all. Working in the office is awesome, everyone is so lovely and welcoming.”
“I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for my team members.”
Recently, Walid lost a family member and his team went above and beyond to support him during this tough time.
“They did everything to support me and my family and it really showed just how incredibly genuine, respectful and compassionate the team at GWS are.”
Aside from his traineeship, Walid is heavily involved in the Muslim Community. He also volunteers at The Lighthouse Community support group – an organisation who support troubled youths and young people who have come out of rehab and detention centres and survivors of domestic violence.
“I have volunteered with this organisation for many years and now I have been given the title of Lighthouse Community Support Volunteer Coordinator.”
“We are a very dedicated group of people who not only support young people but empower them.”
“Being from a diverse background myself I really love to help others in my community and the wider community, and this is why I love working for GWS.”
“In my role at GWS I work in communities across NSW sharing the game of AFL and I get to meet people from all walks of life. We might not understand each other but we communicate through football and that, in turn, creates trust and connection.”
Working in the AFL also gives Walid the opportunity to learn about Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait culture and work in the community.
“I wasn’t too familiar with Indigenous culture but now I am immersed in it and I love it. I have learnt so much about Aboriginal culture and tradition and it’s something I am really interested in and I admire.”
“What I love about the AFL and sports in general is that there is no religion or race, but everyone has one ambition and one goal. It brings people together from all different communities to celebrate their teams.”
Walid hopes to continue his work in helping young people in the community and progress in his role with GWS.
“I can’t express how grateful I am for being able to work at the GWS Giants. I also can’t express the level of excitement I feel when I walk into work every day.”
“I can’t wipe the smile off my face.”
DATE: 4th of October 2019
AUTHOR: Marissa Pagliarello
IMAGE: Walid (right) with GWS Giants Head of Community, Ali Faraj