Westfield Matilda Kyah Simon has been selected as an ambassador for the Australian Institute of Sport’s (AIS) Share a Yarn program.
If sport is a microcosm of life then this program is aiming to start conversations and foster reconciliation on a small scale, so it can be replicated in wider society.
Utilising the platforms of athletes and their role model status, the program is aiming to encourage individuals and organisations to undertake more initiatives to use sport as a force for social change.
The program sees 14 athletes from 11 different sports ranging from football to beach volleyball, para-Alpine skiing, and boxing come together.
A combination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander athletes and non-Indigenous athletes will undertake cultural training and activities to improve cultural competency in sports and provide an opportunity for further sharing and learning.
Simon, the first Indigenous Australian to score at a FIFA World Cup, knows the importance of representation and role models particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.
She was first inspired to pursue her sporting dreams after seeing Cathy Freeman win gold at the Sydney 200 Olympics.
Just as she was inspired to reach the highest level in her chosen sport, she hopes to inspire the next generation of Australian girls.
“As a nine-year-old in my home family lounge-room, that was a real moment that sparked the fire in my belly to want to emulate as much - or half as much - as what she’d done,” said Simon.
“Every time I wear the green and gold I’m thinking of my culture and my people and the thousands of Aboriginal girls that might be watching that and need a moment of inspiration.”
Simon will share her Anaiwan and Biripi heritage with the other ambassadors in the program to increase the knowledge of the history and culture of the traditional owners of the land.