MAYSAR, Melbourne Aboriginal Youth, Sport and Recreation Co-operative Ltd originally known as the Fitzroy Stars Aboriginal Youth Club Gymnasium, commenced operations in 1982 as a direct result of the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service's vision to create a space to deliver preventative health programs to the Aborginal community within Fitzroy and Melbourne. MAYSARs intial program targetted Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth to keep them of the streets and out of the eyes of the law and provide them with programs such as boxing, karate, football and other sports and recreation activity. It was also a space to gather together as a community to discuss future programs that were about healthy life styles and how to make change for the better.
Starting at 173 Gertrude St in an upstairs rented space for a short period the organisation moved around the corner to 99 George St. where it established regular programs and was the base office for the Fitzroy Stars Football Club.
In 1988 we moved over to our current premises at 184-186 Gertrude St. being the only surviving Aboriginal organisation in Gertrude St to this day.
MAYSAR still operate a boxing gymnasium and has included fitness and free weight equipment where people from the broader community come join and maintain fitness or have a desire to become healthier. Robbie 'Bomber' Peden is the head boxing trainer with Souleymaine Diarra our Health & Fitness Coordinator both who personal trainers and elite sportsmen. A certificate 3 in fitness has commenced with NMIT with 15 participants doing the course.
But we are not just a gym, MAYSARs name does not actually reflect what we do here and we describe it more as a place of Mind, Body & Spirit. MAYSAR's ground floor programs include a nutrition program whereby we provide healthy meals to people on the streets at no cost. A computer room is available for Aboriginal community people to have access to the internet as well as a space for gathering and meeting. A proposal to operate a "pay as you feel" cafe and offering training in hospitality has commenced.
The top floor is dedicated to the 'ARTS' and offers a space for dance, music, performing and graphic arts. This has become a popular space an d is well used by all with a view to develop programs on a regular basis.
MAYSAR hire out the top floor for various meetings, rehearsals and gatherings as well as a room on the ground floor.