A high-school teacher for the past 30 years, Janine Gollant has dedicated her life to teaching and supporting others.  

Lending a wealth of knowledge to The Huddle, Janine is now in her sixth year of volunteering with our Study Squad program and says it is the sense of community that keeps her coming back.

“The atmosphere here is amazing,” Janine said.

“I fell in love with The Huddle from the moment I was there.

“It is a humbling experience to be supporting people that want assistance and recognise that education is a pathway that will help them better engage and prosper in society.

“I’ve built so many long-term relationships with families that have come to Study Squad over the years and seeing the familiar faces makes it a real community.

“I’ve taken a great sense of satisfaction from seeing students that I worked with through year 11 and 12 … complete their tertiary education and are now working in the community.”

It is hard to miss the pride in Janine’s voice when she mentioned her students, however two students in particular hold a place in her heart.

“I found it very moving when I saw two former Study Squad students come back for support in applying for jobs with the Game Changers program.

“They had both come to Study Squad for support in high school and throughout their tertiary education and seeing that they were qualified was very moving.

“To see past students now take on roles with The Huddle by either tutoring or becoming Study Squad advisors is also very rewarding.

“I have seen students grow from being teenage girls to now professional young women.

“I think given the cultural diversity of the group we work with and in Australia in general, it is essential that we empower all young people, but particularly young women so that they understand the choices that are available to them.

“To me, education is the key to choices in life and independence.  

“It is not about the content, itis about giving someone the confidence and capacity to thrive to their full potential and participate fully in the society in which they live.”

In 2004, Janine made the move to the Middle East. Teaching at an International School in Bahrain until 2008, gaining valuable cultural experience that allows her to be able to connect with others on a deeper level.

“I am now familiar with some of the students’ traditions and I think that my experience has helped me connect with families and understand their cultural traditions.”

Not satisfied with only supporting students in the classroom, Janine is also passionate about breaking down negative cultural stereotypes.

“Being involved with The Huddle has given me real experience that I can draw on to counter negative viewpoints when I am in conversation with other people.

“I advocate not only for newer communities but for The Huddle and the club, because it is fantastic to be able to tell people that the North Melbourne Football Club does so much in the community space.”

2020 presented Janine with new challenges but by keeping an open mind, she found new and innovative ways to engage students in the online space and is looking forward to the opportunities online learning holds.

“The move to online also provided a greater insight into the difficult circumstances that some of the students face but we made it work.

“I enjoyed the opportunity to meet students and staff from Wyndham, it made us feel like even more of a community and I can see that Study Squad might become a hybrid program in many ways.”

Since Janine first walked through the doors of The Huddle in 2015, she has empowered hundreds of students to learn, grow and belong through education.

We cannot thank Janine enough for her hard work and dedication to our community and we look forward to many more Study Squad sessions with her.

If you want to find out more about Study Squad or volunteering with us, send us an email at Huddle@nmfc.com.au.