For Melbourne FC’s Karen Paxman life is more about finding rewards off the football field than it is on it.
For the Melbourne star, being able to pursue opportunities off the field to help others in various programs, such as Ladder, Launch Housing and her new role at the Victorian Police Association welfare division, has proved as satisfying as her accomplishments on the field.
Talking of her opportunity to be involved with Ladder, a program for homeless or at risk youth, Paxman says “I got involved with Ladder through football actually".
"I was lucky enough to get on board with the program and mentor one of the young people over a period of about 12 months. It’s a great program to be involved with because it’s quite unique as the AFL players have the chance to mentor a young person.”
Finding the work rewarding the midfielder continues “I was privileged in my upbringing, so to be able to give some time to people who might not necessarily have had those same opportunities is really rewarding”.
In conjunction with Ladder, the 2017 AFLW runner up Best and Fairest has worked with Launch housing, another youth homeless organisation, in a youth development role.
“Through work with Launch and volunteering with Ladder, I’ve managed to begin working with not just one young person but I’ve had the opportunity to work with a whole bunch of them," Paxman said.
Recently Paxman has taken up a new role working in a welfare capacity with the Police Association in their welfare division.
“I find anything in that welfare arena pretty rewarding. I’m actually studying a social work degree, so very much in line with what drives me and what I feel like is a rewarding space to be in for work”.
Reflective of what can happen on the football field, working within welfare can be unpredictable, yet rewarding.
“Working with people in a lot of different capacities can be full on. So although it can be quite challenging, with a lot of curve balls and everyday is different, finding the balance between that and football is quite refreshing”.
Speaking of the balance of life between football and outside of football, she says “I guess you get a different perspective and sometime you get a little caught up in football."
"For a time there, especially with the beginning of the AFLW it was just football, football, football, so to have that balance or different perspective, I guess that is a different outlet that has been good for me.”
And to the upcoming AFLW season?
“It almost feels like layers have been added on from year to year. From the beginning, I knew we had a solid team and a group of girls that were really competitive, determined and hard workers.
'I’m looking forward to the next layer adding on and getting to showcase what we can do. It’s pretty cool to be a part of this building team” Paxman said