Winners all-round at Oyiti Cup

A player from the Dandenog-based Red Roo side warms up during the Oyiti Cup. 399851_04 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS

by Cam Lucadou-Wells

Everyone was a winner at the second annual Oyiti Foundation Cup in Dandenong on 12-13 April.

That’s how Oyiti Foundation for Multicultural Youth head Nyibil Amum described the buzz of 200 players vying for trophies at the Hoops 24/7 centre.

The aim was to promote young people’s mental health. To bring young people together and urge them to help one another.

Mental health professionals, Victoria Police and youth workers were also on hand to connect at the event.

Amum described the second staging of the event as “spectacular” – which had swelled to 25 teams from as far as NSW and masses of volunteers.

Greater Dandenong mayor Lana Formoso attended both days, including the trophy presentations.

Amum said he had to limit the number of teams due to the small venue. It was hoped to stage the tournament in the bigger Dandenong Stadium next year.

“The message is whoever comes is a winner. Rather than spending that time at home, they were spending time with other young people, keeping fully engaged with organisations.

“We’re looking forward to keeping the conversations going.”

Amum set up the Oyiti Foundation and the tournament in memory of his late son Oyiti, a talented young leader who played college basketball in the US and took his life three years ago.

Now with State Government support, the foundation runs a weekly homework club, basketball training and monthly mental health awareness sessions for more than 20 youths.

This year, it has launched facilitator training for sports coaches and leaders of womens groups and faith groups.

The initial intake of nine has trained with mental health professionals in order to help young people in their midst.

“There were many people who wanted to be facilitators in the program. We had to have people go through an interview process and we chose the best.”

A short doco film The Voice on the training sessions is expected to be released in the next month.

There are also plans for a podcast featuring mental-health professionals as guests.

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