The John Moriarty Football (JMF) has seen a 1000 per cent increase in participation over the last 18 months.
"What JMF has achieved has been incredible and it's a real credit to our local coaching teams, Community Advisory Groups and staff," co-Founder and Co-Chair of JMF John Moriarty said.
John was the first Indigenous footballer selected to play for Australia.
"One of the main drivers behind our ability to have such a positive impact on the lives of Indigenous children is because we are far more than just a football initiative.
The Hon Mark Coulton MP, Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government and Federal Member for Parkes, visited Dubbo last week to observe JMF.
The Minister and Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders were also honoured with a pair of boots, painted by the young men at the Orana Juvenile Justice Centre where JMF is delivered, with the Minister also being appointed an Honorary JMF Ambassador.
"It is a pleasure to be here today, to see first-hand the difference this program is making to local children and the wider Dubbo community," Minister Coulton said.
"I have long been a supporter of programs like this one that use children's passion for sport to inspire positive change.
"There are also many physical and mental health benefits to playing sport, and it's great to see the JMF initiative is helping to Close the Gap in our remote and regional communities.
"I'm proud to be an Ambassador of this initiative."
"JMF is co-designed and led by local communities, so we can ensure it is delivered in a culturally-embedded way," added Mr Moriarty.
Mr Coulton and Mr Saunders had the pleasure of experiencing a JMF in-school session at Dubbo West Public School, meeting participants and teachers and also speaking with JMF founders, John Moriarty AM and Ros Moriarty.
Mr Moriarty added, "Following on from the incredible impact JMF has had with its latest expansion, we are seeking further funding to scale the initiative to reach even more Indigenous children and communities across Australia."
JMF was established in 2012 and is the longest-running and most successful Indigenous football program in Australia.
The initiative addresses 11 of the 16 Closing the Gap targets and is life-changing for more than 1,500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and boys aged 2 to 16 years of age.
It also provides local Aboriginal jobs, with almost two-thirds of the 40 coaching and administrative staff being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, and all receiving wide-ranging professional development, including in first aid, safe food handling, mental health and becoming licensed coaches.
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