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Dressed to impress

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A $2,000 scholarship has done more for Charlestown netballer Krystal Dallinger than help pay sporting fees.

It’s opened doors she never thought possible.

The Year 12 Hunter Sports High student and recent Hunter Academy of Sport graduate this season started playing for Central Coast Heart.

She has also made her mark through the school’s Talented Sports Program, competing in NSW Combined High Schools competitions.

Earlier this year, Dallinger raised $2,000 for the Confident Girls Foundation, which aims to provide opportunities for vulnerable Australian girls to thrive through netball, by getting sponsors to donate a dollar for every goal she scored throughout June – paying forward the scholarship she received from Compass Housing’s Grow A Star program, funded by Beyond Bank.

But perhaps the icing on the cake came not long after Dallinger and her mum, Carolyn, relocated to the Hunter from Dubbo for Dallinger to pursue her netball dreams.

After participating in GWS Giants shooter Sam Poolman’s Aspire Netball program, Dallinger gifted Poolman a hat she had painted with an Indigenous design as a thank-you.

As a proud Indigenous woman from the Gamilaroi Nation, art is equally as big a part of Dallinger’s life as netball.

Poolman was floored by the gesture and invited Dallinger to design the team’s dress for the indigenous round against the Sydney Swifts, not only last year but this year, too.

“That’s still probably the craziest moment, for me,” Dallinger told Newcastle Weekly. “To think this all started with a hat.”

Compass Housing has continued to support Dallinger through the Grow A Star, which offers financial help and mentoring to local disadvantaged youth to realise their academic, artistic or sporting dreams.

Grow A Star coordinator Shane Marshall said, in households where money was tight, kids often missed out on the sort of extracurricular activities that most would simply take for granted.

“Many talented kids in community housing miss out on realising their potential or dreams because their parents simply can’t afford to fund activities that play an important role in connecting young people to their communities,” he said.

Since its launch in 2012, Grow A Star has assisted more than 300 young people to pursue their academic, sporting or artistic goals. There are currently around 50 young people in the program.

Applications are now open. To find out more, visit compasshousing.org/community-programs/grow-star

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