On Wednesday morning, 26th June, in spite of the freezing temperatures, the youth came out in their numbers to support a sports initiative organised by the SAPS Social Crime prevention team in Reigerpark in Boksburg.
Much research has been undertaken on the positive impact of sport on communities and youth. Sports has proven to be a highly effective tool in keeping youth from falling into a cycle of anti-social behaviour, violence, crime and drug use and contributes immensely to improving both physical and psychological health. It also provides a sense of belonging and support, promoting mutual respect and tolerance and encouraging the development of important social and interpersonal skills.
Linda Goodenough, Community Development Manager for Fidelity ADT says Fidelity ADT were honoured to have been included in the day. “Many children in this area do not participate in any sports and it was so encouraging to see the reaction and enthusiastic response of the youth,” she says.
The SAPS Social Crime prevention team invited children and youth from Reigerpark to come and meet coaches from different types of sports such as rugby, netball, soccer, chess, cycling and even dancing. Goodenough says some wanted to just play ball, didn’t matter what ball, and that was cool to. “They need to belong somewhere and have some interest,” she says.
The kids started the day with a 2.5km walk, then did some warm ups and a full aerobics class. They could then go on to the different sports activities where they could learn and actively participate in whichever sport caught their fancy.
As a special treat, the youth were addressed by South African Long Jump champion, Kgotso Mokwena and were entertained by enthusiastic little dancers, called “Dickies” from Exodus who had the youth up on their feet and clapping.
Time was also taken to address crime, the underlying issue impacting these youngsters. They were given some useful safety hints and tips and reminded to be on high alert and share these tips with younger children in the community. “They must be the eyes and ears of the community and to their parents,” says Goodenough.
The youth were encouraged to come and speak to any of the leaders present on the day if they were experiencing any issues and or had any concerns.
“I would like to applaud Constable Mokwana and his team as well as the Gauteng Province of Education – Ekurhuleni South District – for this incredible initiative and for including Fidelity ADT in the day. Sport can be a great unifier and can really help empower our youth and keep them safe from crime and drugs,” concludes Goodenough.