Ambassadors In Sport

Our mission is to run Hope Academies in South Africa. Hope Academy is an intensive and holistic football based program that provides underprivileged children in Africa the opportunity to fulfil their God-given potential on and off the field.
Jul 18, 2011

Beyond Sport Nomination

New Hope Academy Logo
New Hope Academy Logo

Hi Everyone,

We are pleased to announce that our prison based Drakestein Hope Academy has been nominated for the Beyond Sport Awards in Cape Town from the 5th - 8th of December. This is a great honor as our work has been recognised as a leader in the area of development through sport. You can find our more information here: http://www.ais-africa.co.za/news/latest-news/190-hope-academy-drakenstein-on-beyond-sport-shortlist

Also we have had a great time in our Soweto Academy. On Youth Day we had a visit from professional players and patrons Ricardo Katza and Matthew Booth who helped coach over eighty children in the community, including many of our Academy children.

Our captain in Drakenstein was released from prison last week. Zola has been an inspiration to so many prisoners and we are excited to see how he will impact many people in his community in the future. Please click on this link to learn more about his release, this report is done by our intern who has been working in the prison this year, it makes for a great read! http://aissouthafrica.blogspot.com/2011/07/player-profile-zola.html?spref=fb

We have also been given great media attention in South Africa through DSTV and Supersport. Supersport has done a 5 minute broadcast on our soccer clinic in Mamelodi which was run in preparation of a new Hope Academy which will be launched in Mamelodi township in 2012. The broadcast will be shown at different time periods over the month of August.

Finally we have launched our new logo and I have attached it to this report. We hope you like it, the ball signifies the footballing excellence we give each child through our coaching, the light represents faith and the rays pointing towards the light represent a bright future.

Thanks for all you support for this project and helping us help many young children across Africa.

I will leave you with a quote from one of our children Thokazane (10 years) from our Soweto Academy, it will give you an idea of some of the situations we face with our children in the Academy.

I stay with my 4 grannys and 4 cousins, 5 aunts and my grandfather and two uncles, we are a family of 19. My mother passed away of HIV/ Aids in 2008. I do not know where my father is. Only 3 people are employed at home. My one cousin and I are supported by one of our grannys who earns a monthly social grant from the government. My cousin is in a similar situation as I am since he also lost his mom in 2009 also through HIV and AIDS. I love school and I’m in Grade 5. If don’t make it as soccer player I want to be a police woman.

May 2, 2011

GlobalGiving Visits Hope Academy

I had the pleasure of visiting the Hope Academy, a part of the Ambassadors in Sport program, in South Africa.  The program was started in 2008 by Mark Slessenger based on three principles:  Football, Faith, and Future.  The goal is to use Football (the US equivalent of soccer) to inspire inmates serving up to 10 years in prison to choose constructive paths for themselves while serving time and after they are released.  The impact this program has had on its participants is palpable. 

Thulani, a second-year soccer player, gave me a tour of the Academy.  Beds are made every morning, school is attended every day, and football practice is taken seriously.  Thulani and his comrades seek education, hold upstanding jobs and roles in the prison, including running the library, and sing songs of motivation in perfect harmony before play.  They have won all but two games in 2010, which is an impressive record for any team and amazing considering their competitors are professional South African leagues that play for a living. 

The structure of the game is applied to daily life.  Men receive a green card as a first warning when a rule is violated.   Rules include things like “No bad attitudes”, “Must Participate in School”, and “No Fighting”.  After three cards, a person is expelled from the program and placed back into the general prison population.  Moreover, there are trials every year to invite new people to the Hope Academy and also ensure current participants stay on top of their game.  These rules serve as real incentives to manage behavior in a productive way and to keep people focused on achieving in the program. 

In a prison that has nearly 100% participation in gangs (identified by numbers that distinguish each group’s notoriety--26 (thievery), 27 (blood), or 28 (rape)--and 85% of people return to prison for new crimes after being released, the Hope Academy has 0% gang activity and only 10% recidivism.  What’s more is there has been just one verbal disagreement between two people in the Hope Academy since it started, compared to nightly assaults occurring in the general prison population.  The success of the Academy is awe-inspiring and its only limitation is being able to accept more people into the program.  The football program has been so successful that the prison added three new sports programs - completely supported by the government - within the prison for Rugby, Cricket, and Basketball.

Feb 24, 2011

Hope Academy Africa - new focus

Children line up for Warm Up at Soweto HA
Children line up for Warm Up at Soweto HA

Dear Supporters, We trust you are all well. I wanted to update you all to let you know that we have updated our Global Giving page to include our full Hope Academy program throughout Africa. Hope Academy began in Drakenstein Prison in 2008 but through the success of the program we have opened other Hope Academies across Africa that aim to bring hope to many children. Last year we opened a Hope Academy in Soweto and this has become our community model that we will continue to develop in 2011. The Academy works with 36 children from poor backgrounds in Dobsonville Soweto. We have local leaders that invest in the children through training sessions 3 days a week and league matches on the weekend. Our aim is to strengthen the Hope Academy model this year so we can train and equip some of our African leaders to run effective Hope Academies in Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia and Mozambique in 2012. Within each of these countries we are running soccer based educational programs and these will be formulated into Hope Academies in 2012. Hope Academies are based in poor communities and aim to work intensely with young children so we can help develop a new generation of role models and leaders across Africa in the future, both on and off the soccer field. Each Academy will also develop community based programs such as soccer clinics in schools, coaching courses, tournaments and events that promote the Academy but also benefit the community. Recently we had 400 volunteers help lay a new grass field in our partner school in Soweto, this was amazing as we saw many people in the community from toddlers to grandparents helping lay a field that will be used for Hope Academy and the community for years to come. We will continue our prison Academy but this is a report to inform you that the project is growing and now being used in Soweto and will be used in other communities in the future across Africa. I hope this excites you as you have been part of the prison project which has served at the catalyst to develop other Academies across Africa! We value your continued support and if you have any questions about Hope Academy and the future plans please don't hesitate to contact me. Please check our out updated page on Global Giving also for more information. We are also finalising our trials for the prison Academy in Drakenstein this month and excited about impacting many young men in prison this year.

Links:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $20
  • $30
  • $36
  • $50
  • $200
  • $350
  • $500
  • $10,000
  • $20
    each month
  • $30
    each month
  • $36
    each month
  • $50
    each month
  • $200
    each month
  • $350
    each month
  • $500
    each month
  • $10,000
    each month
  • $
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Ambassadors In Sport

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Ambassadors In Sport on GreatNonProfits.org.