Young Crows fan Jorja Van der Hoek was delighted to be reunited with Club skipper Taylor Walker this week.

The 12-year-old first met Walker close to five years ago when she was awarded a Variety SA scholarship with assistance from the Crows Children’s Foundation to allow her to pursue her dream to dance.  

Jorja was born prematurely at 26 weeks, resulting in a number of conditions including vision impairment and chronic lung disease. But the ballet classes have been a significant help.

With the Crows and Variety SA working together again as part of a three-year partnership which sees the presentation of the ‘Variety Showdown Shield’ Jorja and her mum were special guests at training this week, catching up with Walker and other players ahead of Showdown 45.  

Jorja’s mother Kylie said the assistance of both organisations to allow Jorja to pursue ballet had helped with the management of her conditions.

“Jorja danced for six years and did really well. It taught her discipline and commitment and lots of different attributes that have helped her,” Kylie said.

“She’s doing very well in her schooling, over and above what you would expect a child who only weighed 545 grams when she was born, to achieve.

“Her results are phenomenal, and I believe that six years of dancing gave her the discipline to commit to the work that’s required to achieve those milestones.”

Variety has also granted Jorja an iPad Pro which helps enlarge her work so she can participate just as well as any other student in her Year Seven class, despite her vision impairment.

Walker was happy to re-connect with Jorja after training and was thrilled to see how well she was going.

“She’s a courageous and inspiring young girl,” Walker said.

“It’s great to see first-hand how our charity with Crows Children’s Foundation and Variety help children like Jorja in everyday life.

“It’s fantastic that the Showdown now has a strong focus on helping local kids through the Variety partnership.”

Variety – the Children’s Charity of South Australia has joined with the Adelaide Football Club and Port Adelaide Football Club to help make a greater impact on the lives of local kids in need. The three-year partnership between the organisations is focused around the bi-annual Showdown.

Read more about the Club’s community programs here.