The ProAcademian Support Organization is a non-profit organization with the sole purpose of reducing the high rate of crime committed by youths as well as to give them a hope for the future by creating something captivating and engaging that will involve their active participation so that they can have a positive mindset and excellent course to pursue.
Young people from the Gambia are well recognized for migrating illegally to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea. More than 432 West African migrants died in 2020 while trying to travel to Europe.
To prevent young people from having these attitudes, TheProAcademian Support Organization developed a plan to form a soccer team among young people, assisting them in activities they enjoy in their native country. This is why we give a soccer team the moniker.
TheProAcademian Sport: to inspire children, offer them a compelling reason to stay at home, and perhaps even help grow the country as a whole.
With this initiative, it was discovered that:
Football (soccer) can play a significant role in helping youths to stop engaging in illegal activities. Its positive impact goes beyond the field, offering numerous benefits that contribute to personal development, community engagement, and a reduction in criminal behaviors. Here are the roles and benefits of football in this context:
Roles of Football in Preventing Youths from Engaging in Illegal Activities:
- Structured Activity: Participating in football provides youths with a structured and organized activity that occupies their time and energy, reducing idle moments that could lead to engagement in illegal activities.
- Physical and Mental Well-Being: Regular physical exercise through football helps release endorphins, reducing stress and anxiety. Improved mental well-being can lead to better decision-making and decreased susceptibility to negative influences.
- Skill Development: Football teaches valuable life skills such as teamwork, communication, discipline, and time management. These skills are transferable to other aspects of life, including education and future careers.
- Mentorship and Role Models: Coaches and senior players can act as positive role models, guiding youths toward making better choices and offering advice on life challenges.
- Sense of Belonging: Being part of a team fosters a sense of belonging and camaraderie. This sense of community reduces feelings of isolation, which can be a trigger for engaging in risky behaviors.
- Goal Setting: Football encourages setting short-term and long-term goals, both in training and matches. This goal-oriented mindset can translate into setting positive life goals and working to achieve them.
- Conflict Resolution: Football requires resolving conflicts on and off the field. Learning to manage disagreements in a sports context can help youths develop conflict resolution skills applicable to their daily lives.
Benefits of Football in Preventing Youths from Engaging in Illegal Activities:
- Physical Fitness: Regular participation in football improves overall physical health, reduces the risk of obesity, and promotes an active lifestyle.
- Social Integration: Football brings diverse youths together, promoting social interaction, tolerance, and friendships across different backgrounds.
- Leadership Skills: Some players naturally emerge as leaders on and off the field, helping to instill a sense of responsibility and leadership qualities.
- Character Building: Overcoming challenges in a competitive environment builds resilience, perseverance, and self-confidence.
- Community Engagement: Football events often involve the community, fostering a sense of responsibility toward one's surroundings and promoting positive social behavior.
- Education Incentives: Some football clubs link participation to academic performance, encouraging youths to maintain good grades.
- Outlet for Energy: Football provides a constructive outlet for the energy and enthusiasm characteristic of youth, channeling it toward a positive activity.
How to Support Youths through Football:
- Community Clubs: Support or establish local football clubs that offer training, mentorship, and a safe space for youths to participate.
- Skill Development Programs: Collaborate with local organizations to provide football-based skill development programs that focus on life skills.
- Sports Scholarships: Encourage academic institutions to offer scholarships based on football performance, motivating youths to excel both on and off the field.
- Positive Role Models: Promote the involvement of professional players as mentors and role models for young players.
- Youth Engagement: Organize football tournaments, leagues, and events that engage youths and provide an alternative to negative influences.
- Awareness Campaigns: Raise awareness about the benefits of football in preventing illegal activities among parents, educators, and community leaders.
- Access to Facilities: Advocate for the development of safe and accessible sports facilities in communities to encourage youth participation.
By leveraging the power of football, communities can provide youths with a platform for positive growth, personal development, and the opportunity to lead successful lives free from the influence of illegal activities.
Most importantly, the town soccer league tournament started in April 2023. TheProAcademian Support Organization is looking for fundings and donations to support youth soccer teams in the Gambia, the smallest country in mainland Africa.