The SSDF’s Holistic Opportunities for Personal Empowerment (HOPE) programme took an innovative step in that direction this week by sponsoring the participation of two hundred children in the ongoing Blackheart Kashif/Shangai Knockout Football Tournament, under the banner “Scoring Goals Against Crime”.
Executive Director Joachim Henry explains, “The HOPE programme is a programme that seeks to empower young people in our communities. This year we set out to place an emphasis on the city, especially those troubled areas. We thought the best ambassadors for anti-crime, anti violent behaviour are children within our communities.”
Minister responsible for Sports and Parliamentary Representative for Gros Islet, Lennard Montoute agreed, telling youngsters, “It is quite appropriate that we start at this level to inculcate the right values and character in you and this is what sports does.”
The youngsters of varying ages were at the forefront at the Beausejour Stadium as the eighth Blackheart tournament began, leading the march past of the sixteen district teams competing this year. The children will accompany competing teams at the start of every match as the tournament continues.
Mr. Henry addressed the youth directly, telling them, “We have brought you here so that you take back to your community the importance of empowering young people, empowering yourselves so that you improve your communities. The problems are ours and if the problems are ours the solutions must come from us. Every child, every young man and young woman in the communities must put their shoulders to the task and we will make our communities a better place.”
He told players, “Football is a way of celebrating life; we have seen it through the World Cup and we have great men and women in the sporting fraternities. We expect that we could demonstrate good human behaviour through sports and I have no doubt that as you exhibit your talent here that people in your community will feel so good about your presence here we’ll always win, because every goal that is scored here will be scored against crime.”
Mr. Montoute also encouraged senior players to set an example for the younger ones. SSDF’s contribution to the Tournament was acknowledged by Blackheart Promotions’, David ‘Shakes’ Christopher, who noted that it is in keeping with this year’s focus on self improvement through sports and not crime.
(published by Voice Newspaper)