Last year, Marco Renai paddled the river and canals surrounding the Isle of Capri with two friends, Lee Black and Clint Tee, to raise money for his then-unopened Men of Business (MOB) Academy.

This year, they’re doing it all again – and they need your help.

The 24-hour Capri Paddle will take place on October 15 and 16 to raise money for MOB Academy, an independent secondary school specifically designed to empower young men with the skills, knowledge and confidence to be happy, healthy and successful in life beyond school. 

The new school, which officially opened in April of this year, is based on establishing positive and respectful relationships between adults and students, and is backed by a team of qualified teachers, personal trainers, psychologists, nurses and successful mentors. It caters specifically to Year 11 and 12 boys looking for a workforce and career-focused education, in addition to a formalised health and wellbeing program that focuses on health, nutrition and mindfulness.

“Youth have lost purpose and a vision of what they want out of life, and they need direction and guidance,” says Marco, who first started his Men of Business program 10 years ago. “They need experience to understand what’s expected from them and preparing them mentally and physically for getting and keeping a job successfully in life after school.”

Jason Sessarago, CEO and Principal of MOB Academy, has witnessed the benefits of this approach to education firsthand.

“I know that once education ‘makes sense’ and is relatable to your own circumstances, the process of learning becomes more than just something teachers are telling you ‘you have to do’, and something relevant and often enjoyable,” says Jason. “If our academy can help young men be more positive and proactive towards their future, we will have gone a long way to ensuring the career pathways for many of these young men will be filled with opportunity and prosperity.”

So, in an effort to keep this positive change going, Marco – with a number of other teams and the support of local businesses like Sotheby’s, PWR Racing, MBA Accountants and more – will brave the Gold Coast waters to paddle the five-kilometre loop of the Isle of Capri to raise money for MOB Academy’s 95 enrolled students and their two new school buses. Following the gruelling paddle, participants and supporters will indulge in a charity luncheon at Edgewater Restaurant.

“The 24-hour paddle sounds like a huge task, but take it at your own pace and get involved,” says Lee Black, who was one of the three participants in last year’s inaugural paddle. “I am now fitter, healthier and happier – the success from last year’s paddle was my best achievement of the year. It felt so good to give back to a great local cause.

“This school gives an opportunity to change these kids’ lives, spin them in a different direction and give them life skills as well as an education. It’s so much more than a school.”




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