Role model Mia Anderson is in a league of her own
As the first person to turn up to footy training and the last one to leave, Mia Anderson is a prominent role model in Dubbo’s sporting community.
Mia doesn’t let her intellectual disability stop her from doing what she loves most in life – playing footy.
“League-tag is my favourite footy because my friends play,” she says.
Club president Chad Parkes says “She’s a beautiful human being and she brings a lot to our club.”
“She’s a very uniting person… she’s fiercely loyal, and that’s something we appreciate here.”
Mia has been playing for Dubbo Westside Rabbitohs League-tag team for almost five years. During the footy season she learns new skills, and shares her own, with the other strong Aboriginal women in her team.
Co-captain Alicia Frail says Mia is “a really good winger. She has just a really, really big personality.”
Several members of the Rabbitohs Rugby League club work in the disability sector, and saw a need for sport to be more inclusive. Their club currently has three players with an intellectual disability.
A few years ago Mia didn’t have the confidence to play team sports. She wasn’t comfortable interacting with new people because she didn’t want to be judged for how she spoke.
This all changed when she began attending programs at Breakthru – a community organisation based in Dubbo empowering members to create the life they want to live.
By socialising and learning different life skills such as cooking and shopping, Mia has come out of her shell.
“Cooking is my favourite,” Mia says.
Breakthru manager Paul Hausia says in the seven years he has known Mia, she has blossomed into an extremely confident young lady.
“Mia was very shy at first,” he says. “She’s completely, completely different now.”
“She now doesn’t let [her disability stop her] from giving anything a go.”