A very Happy New Year to you all. Firstly we would like to thank you for all your support to the prison work over 2012. We expierenced some great breakthroughs during the year such as the team being registered and playing in an outside league for the first time and many of our graduates contributing to community projects in Cape Town.
At the end of the program last year we ran a few events that were significant to the program. Firstly we ran a graduation reunion where 18 of our graduates gathered together and climbed Lions Head Mountain. It was the first time that any of our young men had climbed this Cape Town landmark and illustrated that many underpriveledged youth don't get opportunities to enjoy the beaufiful surroundings in Cape Town.
The second event we ran was our end of year awards ceremony. This was a fantastic event and we invited 20 of our graduates to attend the event. Awards were handed out for young men in the prison program that had excelled in their football, character and education. The young men in prison then played a match against the prison graduates which ended in a 1:1 draw. It was a great encouragement to see the young men released from prison coming back and offering encouragement and support the young men in the Academy.
One of our young men who left prison and graduated from the program in 2011 was Zola Goboza. Zola was captain of the Academy from 2009-2011 and became a strong leader and role model to the other prisoners. Zola is now working for the local council in one of the townships and says he is using all the skills he learnt as captain in prison to deal with people in his community. This kind of story and example offers so much hope to the young men in prison as they see one young man who used to be in a cell with them making good decisions and a positive life for himself outside.
In 2013 we will continue to support the prison authotiries in running the program as well as supporting the young men who were released from prison. On February the 9th we will be running the "Freedom Run" a 10K run that starts in the prison to celebrate Nelson Mandelas release and walk to freedom. We will be doing this run with some of our graduates to raise awareness for the program, please consider supporting us by making a donation (any amount) and we will give a report in our next newsletter.
Thanks for all your support - we appreciate your partnership in transforming young lives through using football in South Africa.
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AIS SA Director