Student on a mission
Tessa Quintel walked two kilometres every day last month which was quite the achievement, given the Year 11 St Martins Lutheran College student had never walked to and from school in her life but Tessa was a mission.
She was motivated to set up what was a fundraising project in a bid to help her soccer club, the Limestone Coast All Ability Soccer Club, as well as starting to gain some independence.
For Tessa, the month long project was a mandated class project as part of her Community Studies class and it didn’t take her long to settle on the soccer club fundraiser.
Tessa started with a goal of $250 but has already topped the $1000 mark after setting up a GoFundMe page and donation collection tins, as well as designing posters to promote the cause and a QR code to generate contributions.
The Mount Gambier based club offers a rare but essential opportunity for people living with disabilities to enjoy the social and physical benefits of sport.
The funds will help cover new equipment and travel expenses for events in Millicent and Adelaide.
The Limestone Coast All Ability Soccer Club does not have a large committee or supporter base so Tessa’s mother Romana said these type of fundraising efforts were critical, with many of the club’s playing opportunities being based in Adelaide.
“Tessa really wanted to support her teammates to be able to participate in more events and so for other people to recognise that and contribute has been well, overwhelming, actually,” Ms Quintel said. “It’s great to have other people not involved recognise the importance of inclusion and participation in community sport for all athletes.”
Tessa clocked up 62km during her month long campaign, adding walks in the pines with her kelpie cross border collie Rocky, to her daily walks to and from school.
In her last week of the challenge, Tessa took a fall on her way to school, fracturing her hand but fortunately her legs were uninjured and she could keep walking.
The fundraising walk was definitely well outside Tessa’s comfort zone but she saw it as a way to give back to a club that has given her so much since getting involved two years ago.
“When I didn’t do soccer I didn’t have any friends to hang out with here but now I have some friends I can trust,” Tessa said.
It’s been equally rewarding for Tessa’s parents.
“Soccer’s expanded Tessa’s social skills and her social base and she’s made some amazing friends through it,” Ms Quintel said. “We’re very proud of her.”