In Western countries, people tend to see sport as an obligation to keep themselves in shape for the summer, or at least as a great way to build the body they want to get. Well, sport is much more than that. More than allowing you to feel hot at the beach this summer, sport can achieve amazing benefits on your health, your intellect and your social life. Find out why.
Why we support sport for youth empowerment
Several studies have shown the benefits of exercising for the human body indeed. In addition to the obvious health benefits sport provides, such as building healthy bones and muscles and less odds of developing chronic disease, sport is known to achieve intellectual, emotional and social development as well, especially for the youth.
As Bergeron stated (2007), sport contributes to a young person’s intellect. If professional sport players are sometimes mocked in the media for their silly statements or poor behaviours, it seems that participating in sports influences cognitive functioning in children and youth (Coatsworth & Conroy, 2007). Furthermore, studies have shown the efficiency of sport in terms of academic success, as it would help them stay on task as well as teach relevant skills. (Rosewater, 2009). The better grades obtained by people participating in sport at school is also explained by the attachment to school that the activity provides. (Perkins, 2007). The best part is, the positive effects of sport seem to appear anywhere in the world, especially in developing countries. For instance, the website sportanddev.org describes a study among youth in Namibia, which has shown that the people who were involved in a physical activity were more likely to pass the 10 grade examinations.
However, sport is not only a way to succeed at school or obtain the highest grades. More importantly, it is related to a general well-being in terms of social and emotional development. Sportanddev sums it up in 3 main factors:
- Inclusion and community building: thanks to positive relationship building with their peers, sport increases the feeling of belonging to a group and thus develop your personal identity. It also contributes to strengthen qualities of leadership, community engagement and altruism.
- Character building: It appears that the social interaction that occurs in sport leads to the development of moral behaviours for the youth. This aspect however depends of the context, and more specifically of the coaches and teachers who help and support the youth.
- Delinquency and community safety: Worldwide programs are increasingly using sport to reduce the risks of delinquency for the youth. Although sport in itself won’t stop deviant behaviours, adding it in the program is more likely to create a diversion for the youth at risk, to rehabilitate former activities the youth was involved to before delinquency, as well as creating a positive relationship to authority figures, social services, educational programs and marginalised groups.
Like many others non-profit organization, such as UNICEF, Young Enough Ambition believes in the benefits of sport to empower the youth at a global scale. This is the reason why we support André, one of our grantees who decided to land a project on sport for the Brazilian youth.
UNICEF found out that in Brazil, 3,7 million of children are raised in families with financial difficulties. The consequences are unavoidable: parents have to work more, and cannot always fill the fundamental needs of their kids. This can lead to a lack of marks, feeling of belonging and self confidence, which increases the chances for the youth to develop delinquent behaviours. For these reasons, Andre, a young graduated from Brazil who has a passion for sport, is launching his project: Total Life Coaching. The goal: teaching the supervising teams how to coach the youth they will work with. Indeed, if the teams are skilled in terms of life coaching, the youth will learn respect for their peers, for the rules, how to listen and communicate, and more importantly, how to trust and get self confidence.
Practically, the project aims to train 50 coaches in 3 days, with 6 meetings over 8 months and an access to help when needed within the first year. This will impact 5000 Brazilians, 5000 lives who might change thanks to this project.