Sport for Change

Thanks to our third season, this project continues to lend young people who left school a hand in getting their lives back on track.

THE PROJECT

The Sport for Change branch of Bernareggio was founded to assist and support pre-adolescents and adolescents at risk of early school leaving. The organisation is committed to proposing programs to guide these youngsters in the discovery of their skills and talents, thereby boosting their self-esteem and nurturing the development of meaningful relationships and bonds, in order to facilitate their return to school. The means for achieving these ends are based on sports activities as well as educational and artistic workshops.

THE SITUATION

The territory of Bernareggio, like the surrounding area, is plagued by a form of social emergency in terms of early school leaving. Once they graduate from middle school, youngsters have trouble completing their education and early school leaving goes hand-in-hand with their progressive dispersion from settings where they traditionally socialise. Often, left to their own devices, groups of older youths take on more deviant traits, to the point of being perceived as “problematic” by the local community. The Sport for Change Project intervenes in terms of prevention in these potentially risky situations, involving minors who often suffer from the fall-out of dysfunctional families, learning disabilities, and difficulty in developing relationships both with their peers and adults.

In all the cases followed over the years, these problems, manifested with varying intensity, have directly influenced learning and academic performance. Schools are first and foremost the settings where the first alarm bells can be heard. The difficulties these youngsters face daily should never be underestimated and improvement must be monitored over time.

INTERVENTION METHODS

Sport for Change is divided into 2 appointments per week managed by a technician, a professional educator, and a psychologist.

The technician plans and manages real-life sports activities, organising the work on the field based on the skills and potential of the youngsters involved. The educator supports the technician in managing group dynamics and relations with each kid; the psychologist supervises the youngsters and organises individual sessions, in order to provide a space where participants can express themselves and where parents can gain insight.

In addition to sports activities, the programme includes artistic and playtime workshops based on the interests and needs of the group. The objective here is to reinforce autonomy and allow each child to express his or her own skills and potential. For this edition, it has been decided to start up the workshops almost immediately, thereby enabling participants to put into practice the progress they are making.

Throughout the entire programme, networking with other players on the territory who work in favour of minors is fundamental: middle schools, the municipality, social services, and private social organisations. Activities are carried out in close collaboration with schools and subjects who develop activities for young people during the day.

BENEFICIARIES

This season the project involved 15 young people between the ages of 11 and 16. 6 of them are following up on the program after participating in previous editions, while 2 passed their State Middle School exam last June and are now attending high school.

Together they are learning how to improve their relationships with their peers and manage their behaviours, as well as boost their learning skills and reduce tensions in their own families.

TERRITORIAL NETWORK

  • State Comprehensive Institute of Bernareggio
  • Parish of S. Maria Nascente Youth Centre
  • Social Services of the City of Bernareggio
  • CAG managed by the Aeris Cooperative
  • ASD VIBE RONCHESE
  • Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Cattolica University) – Postgraduate School Agostino Gemelli that, for three years, have supported the scientific value of the projects in all its locations, working on the evaluation of the impact of integration activities for youths at risk of social marginalization