Sport for Change

to helps youngsters who have left school early to pick up their studies again or find a job.

THE PROJECT

Sport for Change was set up to support pre-adolescents and adolescents who risk becoming early school leavers. It provides courses to increase self-esteem, the development of relationships and significant bonding, to rediscover abilities and skills, helping them to pick up their studies or training again. It aims to do all this through sport and educational and creative workshops.

THE SITUATION

Limbiate is a “dormitory town” of about 40,000 inhabitants. This municipality, one of the poorest in the province of Monza and Brianza is divided into districts, of which Pinzano and Molino are the ones traditionally recognised as being at risk. In the past they had a lot of organised criminal activity, with blood feuds between foreign families. This is where the sports centre is.

Social unrest is naturally also evident at school, in the form of frequent cases of bad behaviour and aggressive attitudes, which inevitably affect academic performance, meaning students have to repeat years and, in the long term, leave school even before they finish middle school. Around 70% of those taking part in the project are from middle school in fact, in particular from the Leonardo Da Vinci school, which reported cases at risk to us: students with particularly difficult family situations who had had to repeat more than one year.

HOW TO INTERVENE

Sport for Change sees 2 appointments a week run by a coach, a professional educator and a psychologist.

The coach plans and manages the actual sports activity, organising work in the field according to the skills and the capacity of the kids involved; the educator works alongside the coach in managing group dynamics and the relationship with the individual youngsters; the psychologist has the task of supervising and learning more about the kids through one-on-one sessions, and also with a help desk and guidance counselling for the parents.

 

In addition to the sporting activities, the course also offers artistic and games workshops, based on the interests and needs of the group, with the objective of strengthening autonomy and allowing each youngster to express their capacity and potential. This year we decided to start up the workshops early to allow the kids to express and test themselves in a more immediate manner.

Throughout the whole activity, it is fundamental to network closely with local parties that are involved with minors: middle schools, the municipal council, social services and private social parties. We work in close collaboration with schools and local organisations providing activities for the youngsters during the day, helping them grow and overcome difficulties they encounter.

BENEFICIARIES

16 boys and girlS aged 12 to 15. 3 of them are foreign, two Peruvians and one Indonesian.

8 are continuing from last year to strengthen, in a fairly difficult situation, the improvements they made last season. The 6 new arrivals all have relational difficulties, which are reflected in their results at school.

LOCAL NETWORK

  • Istituto Comprensivo Gramsci and Istituto Comprensivo Leonardo da Vinci middle schools
  • ASD Limbiate
  • Fondazione Limbiate Sport (The Limbiate Sport Foundation)
  • Limbiate local council sport and leisure time sector and social services
  • Catholic University of Milan – Postgraduate School of Psychology “Agostino Gemelli”, which for three years now has supported the scientific value of projects right across the board, responsible for evaluating the impact of inclusion activity of youngsters who risk social exclusion.