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United Through Sport Builds Second Sport Court in South Africa

Leaving a legacy by building a place where children can continue to play sport for years to come, was celebrated recently by United Through Sport South Africa.

The United Through Sport Multi-Sport Court is an initiative of UTS South Africa supported by The Swartkops Terminal PTY (Ltd). Having eagerly watched the building process over the last few months; Children from Isaac Booi Primary School and the surrounding community will now have their first opportunity to play netball, basketball and tennis on the facility. 

Isaac Booi is an anchor school of United Through Sport’s Junior School of Excellence (JSE) Programme, which is based in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. The programme nurtures participants with ability and determination to give them access to extra academic education, sports coaching and personal development at after-school classes.

“Making a sustainable difference in the communities where United Through Sport works, is a core priority and we believe this Multi-Sport Court will continue to offer children a safe place to play sport – for years to come as a legacy project. The court not only benefits our programmes we run at the school, but it is also there for the enjoyment and benefit of all the learners at the school as well as the local community,” said United Through Sport Director Nick Mould.

To continue to develop the Junior School of Excellence children to the highest level and give them an opportunity to rise above their challenges, they need to have access to quality facilities such as the Isaac Booi Court to enable them to compete with their counterparts.

“I would like to thank United Through Sport for their initiative in child development. Their team does an amazing job. I am very proud of The Swartkops Terminal for its involvement in this project, that benefits children on a personal level which is carried through to adulthood. The fact that this project will develop children for years to come make it so much more rewarding,” said The Swartkops Terminal PTY (Ltd) Terminal Manager Colin Wilken.

Isaac Booi Principal Mr Ludwe Memese said the entire school looked forward to the opening of the court. “We are the first, if not the only school with such a facility in the township. This would help to market the school to the neighbouring schools. It will enable the learners not only to be keen in partaking in the sports they are familiar with, but also learn to play tennis which is a rare sporting code in our communities,” Memese said.

A parallel JSE Programme is run at Astra Primary School, where a Multi-Purpose AstroTurf, used for hockey and soccer training, was also built by United Through Sport– with the help of various funders. The Multi-Purpose Astro Turf court was launched in 2016.

United Through Sport is currently fundraising for a third Multi-Purpose Court for training activities. Read more about our latest project here: https://www.givengain.com/cause/3881/campaigns/18276/

United Through Sport South Africa Launches Girls’ Empowerment Programme

UNITED Through Sport recently launched a brand-new programme, GirlsUnite, at Astra Primary School in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, to empower young girls from the community.

The focus of GirlsUnite is to help girls cope with some of the challenges they face through structured Self-defence, Literacy and Counselling sessions. The girls’ empowerment programme is for girls aged 10 to 13 years old, from Bethelsdorp and surrounding areas.

“While we are piloting the programme at Astra Primary School, we hope to extend the programme in the years to come, as this has been identified as an important need in the areas where we work,” said United Through Sport Director Nick Mould.

United Through Sport currently runs a Junior School of Excellence (JSE) Programme for primary school children to receive extra academic support, further sports development and mentoring. The JSE programme is based at Astra Primary School in Bethelsdorp and Isaac Booi Primary School in Zwide.

United Through Sport’s JSE Programme offers an environment of safety and positivity and a beacon of hope for many young children growing up in the surrounding community. As an added investment into the girls from the school and surrounding community, United Through Sport launched the girls’ empowerment programme GirlsUnite.

Because of their socio-economic environment, many of the girls in the JSE programme have challenges preventing them from attending afternoon classes, and learning at school, including physiological (reproductive needs), safety at home and on the way to school, as well as personal needs related to self-esteem and self-actualisation.

The GirlsUnite Programme is a one-year project, made possible by EMpower’s Bright Promise Awards, from the Estee Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation. Nelson Mandela University’s Psychology Clinic, which is based at the Missionvale campus, is partnering with United Through Sport by offering counselling services for the GirlsUnite Programme.

Counselling and group sessions have started at Astra Primary in the school’s library room as well as a converted container, which was donated by Siyaloba Training Academy. When the container is not used for counselling, it functions as a “girls-only” space used for extra reading sessions and informal mentoring sessions.  Other than girls from Astra Primary School, girls from the surrounding community will also make use of the girls-only space and drop-in counselling services.

United Through Sport South Africa Delivers 11 Budding Provincial Sport Stars

Kiara Meyer and Sachin Padayachee are two of eleven United Through Sport South Africa beneficiaries who have been selected to represent their province in hockey and rugby.

ELEVEN children who are participating in United Through Sport South Africa’s programmes in Nelson Mandela Bay have been selected to represent their province (states) in either rugby or hockey.

“We are exceptionally proud of these young sport stars who always give their best on the field. Nurturing talent from a young age is crucial for the development of the children and we pride ourselves in unlocking sporting opportunities for the talented children who participate in our programmes,” said United Through Sport South Africa Director Nick Mould.

Currently 140 children across Nelson Mandela Bay participate in United Through Sport’s Junior School of Excellence (JSE) programme. The programme offers an additional two hours of teaching and coaching every day after school – providing extra academic support in Maths and English, further sports coaching, life skills classes and personal mentoring. Deserving children from the JSE are then selected for our Senior School of Excellence Programme (SSE), for placement at some of the top participating high schools in Nelson Mandela Bay.

At Astra Primary School three boys were selected for the EP Hockey Under-13 team: Caylan Fouché (C team), Trent Gunn (B team) and Coby Jonas (C team). In addition, Caleb Gaseba – also from Astra Primary School – was selected for the EP Hockey Under-14 A team. In the Under-14 B team Sachin Padayachee was selected to represent his school, Alexander Road High School.

Claredon Park pupil Wayvin Meyer made the EP Hockey Under-13 A team, while fellow school mate Keenan Martin had been selected for the final round of the EP Rugby Trials which will be held in Bloemfontein later this month, where the A and B teams are selected.

At St. George’s Primary School Keanu van Niekerk made the EP Hockey Under 13-B team and Clireez Brugh made the EP Hockey Under-13 B team.

In the United Through Sport’s Senior School of Excellence Programme, Kiara Meyer from Alexander Road High School made the Hockey Under 18-A team, as well as Kyra Jurgens from Pearson High School.

United Through Sport Graduate Keeps His Eye On The Ball

UNITED Through Sport graduate Adrian Pretorius had a ball photographing a sports tournament in Zwide recently.

On an assignment for Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, he was tasked to photograph the tournament that was organised by two Dutch volunteer coaches from the university who is working at United Through Sport in Nelson Mandela Bay as part of their Sport Studies internship.

Adrian, 18, matriculated from Victoria Park High School in 2017 – the same year that he received his own camera from his older brothers, twins Ashwell and Ashwin, who run Ashtwinz Photography.

Adrian, who is the youngest sibling in his family, has been working for his brothers as photographer and assistant photographer throughout his high school career.

“I enjoy photography very much, as you get to meet and talk to new people all the time,”.

Currently working as photographer and studying to improve his Admission Point Score (APS) for university, Adrian was very excited to get the sports tournament assignment through a recommendation from United Through Sport Director Nick Mould.

“I loved working with the children, photographing them and seeing their interaction with the volunteers and coaches during the tournament. Sport is the best way to stay healthy and fit,” said Adrian.

Joira Vieira, one of the Dutch volunteers that Adrian photographed, said he was very professional on the day of the holiday camp, and that everyone loved the photographs he took.

Adrian, who went to Astra Primary School, currently plays Premier League club hockey and was in the first hockey team at Victoria Park High School for two years in a row.

While he admitted that he only started to play hockey in high school to “meet girls”, he soon fell in the love with the sport.

“I love hockey – when you play, you are so focusedon the sport, and what to do next. In that moment it is all that counts,” 

United Through Sport regularly engages in employing former beneficiaries, whether on a full-time or part-time basis, to assist in the organisation’s programmes.

Several Senior School of Excellence graduates, who remain in Nelson Mandela Bay to study or work, conduct weekly mentorship classes at different high schools to assist younger children in the programme to cope with the challenges of high school, as well as to offer academic tutoring after school.

United Through Sport Director Nick Mould concludes:

“This is part of United Through Sport’s commitment to help our beneficiaries with the transition from school into the working world and becoming a meaningful contributor to society.”

Maths Whizz Scoops Second Scholarship Prize

RAKING in close to R100 000 worth of tertiary tuition scholarships is as easy as 1, 2, 3…

This is true in the case of Chadleigh Ownhouse, a Grade 12 learner from Alexander Road High School, who has for a second year in a row came in the top three of his age group at the annual Rhodes University Mathematics Experience (RUME).
Chadleigh, 16, is a participant in United Through Sport’s Senior School of Excellence Programme and has been a beneficiary of United Through Sport’s programmes for the past five years.
At the RUME, which was hosted in Grahamstown on February 16, he competed against representatives from around 30 other schools in the Eastern Cape. He recently heard that he scored second overall in the Grade 11 to 12 category after completing a mini-Olympiad (20-question maths competition) during the RUME.
“Maths is actually very easy to me. It involves a lot of problem solving and creative thinking. You have to be innovative in the way you solve the problems,” Chadleigh, who lives in Bethelsdorp Extension 22, says.
Chadleigh is no stranger to performing well at the RUME competition, as he last year came first in his age group during the mini-Olympiad. Combining the two years’ scholarship prizes, he has accumulated almost R100 000 worth of tertiary tuition scholarships for studying at Rhodes University in 2018.
This gifted learner has not made up his mind yet on his future career aspirations but is leaning towards a BSc degree in Microbiology.
He is also competing in the South African Maths Olympiad and enjoys Advanced Programme Mathematics as a seventh subject.
His parents, Andrea and Neil, motivate him to always do his best and are very proud of his most recent achievements. When he is not studying, he enjoys playing tennis, squash and chess.

Three Solid Years of Impacting Children’s Lives Through Sport

WHAT does a pilot, medical student and aspiring lawyer have in common? Their lives have all been transformed by United Through Sport South Africa.

A total of 19 young adults who graduated from United Through Sport’s Senior School of Excellence Programme over the past three years have successfully moved onto tertiary studies or the working world, which is evidence of the progress made by the not-for-profit organisation in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa.

Since founded in 2005, United Through Sport has used sport as a tool to develop children from disadvantaged and vulnerable backgrounds. Starting at Primary School level, with our Mass Participation and Junior School of Excellence Programmes, we journey with committed children through to high school, where they receive top level education through our Senior School of Excellence Programme, at some of the best schools in Nelson Mandela Bay.

A recent Impact Report shows that these United Through Sport programmes not only yielded the positive outcomes intended by the organisation, they also had a far deeper effect and encouraging spin-offs than what United Through Sport had anticipated, said United Through Sport Director and Co-Founder Nick Mould.

Just a few highlights of the results achieved between 2015 and 2017 include:

  • United Through Sport doubled its intake of Senior School of Excellence beneficiaries from 49 to 89 children (compared to the previous period 2012- 2014). The learners have consistently achieved a 100% Grade 12 pass rate every year.
  • In the Junior School of Excellence Programme, we have improved the English and Maths results of the participating children by 20% for Maths and 30% for English. 431 children received extra academic support, further sports development, life skills and personal mentoring in the period 2015 to 2017.
  • The total number of children reached by our Mass Participation Programme over the past three years (2015 to 2017) were 34 569. The programme involves direct sports coaching, life skills and critical issues teaching at 180 schools in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The results from the Impact Report were obtained through tests, surveys, interviews and focus groups conducted by our staff as well as an independent researcher.

“The areas and evidence of change are hugely encouraging signs that we are progressing in the right direction. The children’s lived experiences inform our future analysis, evaluation and planning for programme development and growth as an organisation. We are proud of the outcomes of the past three years of intervention in the lives of the children of Nelson Mandela Bay – as we continue to support children in their rights to play, be healthy and get access to a good education to enable them to fulfil their full potential,” Mould said.

Thank you from our beneficiaries:

“When I look at my friends now, every friend is either pregnant or in jail. You’ve changed my life. You made my dreams into reality. Continue to help kids find their purpose in life. Continue doing the great job that you are doing!” – Lindiwe Cezula (Politics and Public Administration Student, Nelson Mandela University)

“United Through Sport gave me such an amazing opportunity. I feel like I have grown much more and have been exposed to many more opportunities and people thanks to United Through Sport. The fact that they also saw me as a deserving candidate for the bursary inspired confidence in me that I never previously had.” – Bronwyn White (Medical Student, University of the Free State)

 

Senior School of Excellence Beneficiaries Excel at Final Year Studies with a 100% Pass Rate

From playing ball to studying to become a medical doctor – one South African girl’s life has been transformed through the power of sport.

Bronwyn White, a United Through Sport Senior School of Excellence beneficiary, achieved her final year 2017 National Senior Certificate with no less than four distinctions. She has been accepted to study Medicine at the University of Cape Town in 2018.

“United Through Sport gave me such an amazing opportunity, allowing me to attend a school such as Pearson. I feel like I have grown much more and have been exposed to many more opportunities and people thanks to UTS. The fact that they also saw me as a deserving candidate for the bursary inspired confidence in me that I never previously had,” said an elated Bronwyn.

Bronwyn is one of nine beneficiaries from the United Through Sport Senior School of Excellence Programme in South Africa who have all achieved their 2017 National Senior Certificates. They have chosen diverse career paths, from studying Photography to Accounting, at various tertiary institutions across the country.
The UTS Senior School of Excellence Programme, which is based in Nelson Mandela Bay, is focused on providing talented and determined children with a top level academic education for a full five years – with the final aim of further supporting them through tertiary studies.

The Class of 2017 is the biggest group of beneficiaries that have passed through the programme in South Africa, according to United Through Sport Director Nick Mould.

“Each one of our Grade 12’s is expected to pursue tertiary studies, many being the first in their families to do so. Compared to the national average, we are very pleased with our 100% pass rate and would like to wish all our beneficiaries well with their future endeavours,” said Mould.

The Senior School of Excellence beneficiaries’ 100% pass rate is well above the 75.1% average pass rate in South Africa. The United Through Sport Senior School of Excellence Programme achieved a 78% university pass rate in 2017, compared to the national average of just 28%.

Kaylin Fourie, another South African United Through Sport Senior School of Excellence 2017 top achiever, will be pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher through the University of Pretoria.

“United Through Sport has been there for me since I was 11 years old, and they have been the main reason I have achieved my dream of being the first person in my family to go to University. This opportunity has really changed my life,” Kaylin said.

How we changed an American’s life

Domineque Scott came to South Africa to work with United Through Sport in an effort to change the lives of disadvantaged children there — what she found changed her life.

In a recent visit to her old University, East Stroudsburg University, USA, Scott explained how her experiences in South Africa had influenced her new direction in life. United Through Sport was there to hear what she had to say.

Scott, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2008 and a master’s degree in 2009, both in sport management, from East Sroudsburg University, USA, had been coaching field hockey at a private college when she decided she needed to look for new horizons.“I wanted to go abroad, I wanted to make an impact and I wanted to give back to those who need it,” she said.

Scott, a four-year field hockey player at ESU, signed on to spend 12 weeks in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, starting in January 2014. “I went over for three months and I actually ended up staying for two years,” Scott said. At the end of her three-month volunteer stint, she was offered a job as mass participation program manager in South Africa. United Through Sport volunteers coach children in soccer (football), tennis, field hockey, rugby, cricket and netball. Scott coached the kids in field hockey and tennis and tutored them in English and Math.

The organization in South Africa works with thousands of children each year and it changes schools every six months in order to reach more kids. “We are coaching sports with them and also practicing life skills,” Scott said. That included lessons about HIV prevention and the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as soft skills, such as leadership, communication, teamwork and decision-making. She was moved by the gratitude of the students, as well as the kinship she found in each village and town. It was the first time Scott had been abroad and the experience was eye opening.

“Africa is a magical place,” Scott said. “They have such a sense of community over there, such love, they’re family people. Everybody knows each other”. She worked with children who came from extreme poverty who really wanted to be in school. “The kids appreciate what you’re doing so much,” she said. The schools typically don’t offer physical education so the programs provided time for the children to run around and play sports.

She recalled one student, Lindiwe, who played netball and eventually lived with United Through Sport volunteers because her home life at her sister’s place wasn’t conducive to studying. “The volunteers were helping her out with her academics in the evening,” Scott said. Lindiwe did so well she went on to a university, where she is in her second year with plans to become a lawyer. That’s especially impressive since she comes from a community where only 3 percent of the population goes to college. “It was life changing for her to be a part of the program,” Scott said.

The 29-year-old Scott came back to the U.S. a few weeks ago and is currently living in Milton, Delware and working to start an American branch of United Through Sport. She is fundraising and recruiting volunteers for coaching children abroad and hoping to organize an internship program for college students to coach in local disadvantaged communities. “I want to open United Through Sport USA to give other people opportunities to have these experiences,” she said. Volunteers in South Africa were based in Port Elizabeth, a city by the Indian Ocean, and worked with children Monday through Friday. On weekends, the volunteers could take excursions such as safaris, bungee jumping and diving in shark cages. Scott made close friends among the volunteers who came from countries that included Great Britain, Switzerland, New Zealand, Canada and Germany.

Scott visited ESU with her mentor, Paula Parker, Ed.D., associate professor and chair of the ESU sport management department, with whom Scott has kept in touch and looked to for guidance on career choices. Dr. Parker says Scott has become a great ambassador for United Through Sport.

“Domineque’s engaging personality and passion for education through sport make her an ideal advocate for United Through Sport,” Parker said. “She shares her volunteer experiences in South Africa in such a way that everyone she comes into contact with will want to explore opportunities to volunteer.”

If you would like to take part in an international volunteer sports coaching placement abroad, great for internships, meaningful holidays or a gap year and career break, then check out our travel website by clicking here.

Volunteer Teacher Jen talks to the Coaches in South Africa

Jeanette Morelan is a United Through Sport volunteer who has been teaching on our project in South Africa. She also keeps a blog, “The Blessed Life”, in which she has recently written about a day in the life of a UTS coach. Here’s what happened.

J: Why did you decide to volunteer with United Through Sport?

I decided to volunteer at UTS because I fully believe in their goals and wanted them to help reach them at 100%. By placing children in the townships in the center of the attention, United Through Sport is taking care of the future of South Africa. —Julian S.

I’ve always wanted to do sport-related volunteering, and United Through Sport really stood out to me. After seeing a video and some photos of the kids that UTS was working with, it sounded incredible and described everything I wanted to do as a volunteer. —Jess T.

J: Describe a typical day of coaching.

Coaches go to 3 schools a day and do 14 schools in a week. When we arrive the children are already waiting to grab the equipment and take it to the different sports areas. Every school is different, so even though we plan our sessions beforehand we have to be able to adapt to circumstances such as playing conditions and ability and their capacity to speak English. Every coaching session is really different! Traveling from different schools can be tiring, but we always give 110% as the kids want to learn and enjoy the sessions. As coaches we discuss afterwards what can be improved and our experiences so we can be more prepared for the next week. It’s a busy day, but we really enjoy it and love getting to have different experiences and meeting different kids. —Jess T.

Shower, eat, coach, eat, sleep, eat, sleep, repeat. —Robbie M.

I wake up around 8:30am to have a shower. At 8:45 I’ll have a simple breakfast, just a simple toast with cheddar cheese. After the breakfast we usually have about a hour left to relax/chill and I use this time to contact my family and friends in Holland. During a coaching day, we coach 3 primary schools. Normally it depends on the school which results you’ll reach. At some schools you are able to really improve the skills of the kids, sometimes it’s just a victory keeping them all in one place! After finishing the coaching sessions we go back to the UTS accommodation where we can fill in the rest of the day after dinner at 5:30pm. We have a lot of fun visiting different places in Port Elizabeth or playing pool or table tennis back at the house. At the end of the day I feel really happy that I can sleep and repeat this for five times in the week. —Julian S.

J: What’s your favorite part about being a coach?

I love the excitement on the kids faces as the UTS bus pulls into each of the schools. They all love the coaching sessions, and are so excited to see you each week. I’ve been surprised at how quickly I’ve become so attached to all the kids we coach, and was genuinely gutted to have to say goodbye at the end of 10 weeks. The amount some of them have improved week on week is unbelievable which is so great to see. —Jo B.

The enormous satisfaction that the kids show by smiling, hugging you as a coach before, during and after a coaching session just because you took the time to be with them. Also when kids make really big improvements. When you can spot some great results it makes it one of the best jobs in the world! —Julian S.

Sports Coaching South Africa

What are some of the challenges associated with coaching?

Coaching different numbers of kids on sometimes bad pitches (fields) with little equipment. —Lukas S.

I would say that the most difficult, and challenging, part of being a coach was keeping the kids under control and listening to my instructions. Whilst it was very frustrating, I found that this provided a good learning experience for myself as an individual. —Felix M.

The biggest challenge is to realize that some kids are already too much influenced by their environment to realize how important education and sports are. Sport creates on its own a great opportunity for people to develop themselves and to create a better future. Sometimes this is hard to communicate for kids that have never been taught the value of sports or education. It’s hard sometimes to try and convince them to leave their current ideas and way of living. —Julian S.

How do you think that United Through Sport is making an impact?

We can see the positive difference that it makes first hand on both kids’ ability to play sports and also their confidence and attitudes toward each other. When we recommend children to the Junior School of Excellence, we know that it could effect the course of their entire lives and we can see that they take the opportunity very seriously. —Imi P.

United Through Sport makes a difference by brightening the days of hundreds of kids each week by bringing them together for some time of sports and fun. When they’re with us, they can leave all of their problems and issues that they might have at home and spend some time receiving mentoring and coaching that they would have never had before as well as enjoying time with their friends. —Chris B.

What are some things that you have learned as a coach with United Through Sport?

To not judge a person before you know their story. Sometimes you get really surprised about what these kids have to deal with. I expect that if we as people from first world countries had to deal with their circumstances we would probably behave the same. —Julian S.

I have learned more things about myself whilst here in South Africa than I have about the place and its inhabitants. I know now more about my personal limits and strengths, and that people will listen to me if I just use the right words. This experience has been the most valuable of my life so far and I will always treasure it. —Felix M.

 

Another Year of Colour Run

It was that exciting time of the year again where our children had the chance to get involved in the “Happiest 5km Run on the planet”! The Color Run in Port Elizabeth (South Africa) took place on Sunday 24th August, and as the charity partner of the event, United Through Sport was very involved in the preparation and organisation for the big day. From packing the goodie bags to manning the “colour stations” on race day, United Through Sport provided over 40 volunteers to ensure the success of the event.

On a few evenings leading up to race day, our international volunteers took pleasure in getting together registration packs and preparing logistics for the run. It was bitter sweet for 20 of the 40 volunteers who would be leaving South Africa just a day before the race, but they made the most of their involvement and had ultimate fun in the registration process.

Having never heard of The Color Run before, the children from the Junior School of Excellence program were super excited to be taking part in such a colourful day! The cold and rainy weather on the morning of the race had no chance of dampening their spirits; they were just too happy and energized to be getting cold! Singing along to their favourite happy tunes and unexpectedly seeing United Through Sport staff at the colour stations shooting them with bursts of colour made the run even more fun for our kids.

The kids had such a blast competing as to who would be the most colourful by the end of the day, with the intention of giving their parents a difficult job getting their clothes clean; the wet weather being great assistance in their plans. It’s not clear who won the most colourful prize though between the United Through Sport volunteers and the kids, as the volunteers were on a mission of their own to end their South African volunteer experience on the happiest and most colourful note!

We were very happy to be nominated as the charity partner in the second year running of The Color Run Port Elizabeth. It indeed proved that last year we did a great job, and we wish to continue with the partnership in the future. All funds donated by The Color Run will go towards our scholarship program, ensuring better educational pathways for the children in the Junior School of Excellence as they progress to high school.

“What a crazy and fun day this was, I just let go and went crazy along with all the runners; it really is the happiest event ever!” – Siyamthanda Ngcakana, Rugby, Junior School of Excellence.