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Always was, always will be.

Jarrod Harbrow’s Story.

In recognition of NAIDOC Week and this year’s theme – Always Was, Always Will Be, alongside our Partners at the AFL Players Association, we spoke to proud Aboriginal man and Gold Coast Suns star, Jarrod Harbrow.

Jarrod’s Indigenous ancestry can be traced back to the Yirrganydji cultural group – located in far north Queensland.

Born and raised in Cairns, Jarrod and his family moved to country Victoria when he was 16 to pursue his dream of a career in football (now spanning over 14 years and 258 games!).

After experiencing a life altering event with his brother’s health, pursuing his passion for mentoring and giving back to the community became Jarrod’s purpose. In 2019, Jarrod and his brother Marc, went on to co-create Harbrow Mentoring. Located in far north Queensland and the Gold Coast, Harbrow Mentoring is an organisation which provides a holistic range of programs to young people centred on Mentoring, Leadership and Sports Development.

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“We don’t need anything in return but we want to help the people that need our support.”

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“It’s not just about what the community can do for us but about what we can do for the community.”

Using his platform as an AFL footballer, Jarrod is passionate about supporting young people to achieve their potential through creating a nurturing, culturally supportive and inclusive environment.

Jarrod shared his journey from growing up near Cairns, understanding his Aboriginal culture, and what he hopes to pass on to future generations to create a more inclusive future for Australia’s youth. He believes NAIDOC Week is a great chance to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and that the best way to teach culture is to practice culture and bring others along for the ride for them to share in the experience.

The Gold Coast Suns are normally heavily involved in NAIDOC Week celebrations, usually held in July, with players involving themselves in celebrations throughout the community. Jarrod takes the players and coaches fishing in the mangroves for mud crabs teaching his team about his own heritage and supporting them as they learn and practice cultural activities.

When we spoke to Jarrod, he told us ‘listening is key’, so we hope you’ll take the time to watch and listen to his story.

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“If you’re really happy and going well in life, ask yourself what you can do to help the person next to you.”

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