When Sports For Champions UK (CIC) first approached me I was young and progressing quickly in sport, driven by a growing passion that saw advancements in seniority and [inter]national success. Upon entering university I was awarded a full Sports Scholarship for three years, despite not being in a related field of study, and went on to accrue almost 20 more gold medals in combat sports and martial arts before completing my degree. It was during this time that a wonderful relationship began, following my introduction to a new organisation that was already engaging youth nationwide!
With a view to educate, enable, and empower young people, the Founder of ‘SFC’ had rallied a number of world-class talents to his cause, several of which still work alongside us today as highly inspirational youth mentors. After a decade of success in our shared vision to ‘inspire children as champions of tomorrow’, I look back at my time working with youth at schools across the UK during its early days, whilst 45-50 pro/para/Olympic athletes now lead our work in support of the national agenda for child welfare, public health and safety.
Opportunities linked to sport and my capabilities were arriving at an exciting pace for a young man from a humble background. As such, like most successful alphas that have yet to fully mature, I was more concerned with myself and what I was, or perhaps what I was seen to be, than what others actually were and why that mattered. My experience on SFC’s School Programme had a profound impact on me, however, notably my attitude towards self-worth and purpose within a wider community context.
I worked closely with the Managing Director over several years as he laid the foundations for a team that would come to visit 100 schools each month (UK), extending their activities across Europe. The School Programme taught me that our potential impact on each other is more profound that I had certainly ever considered, and thus lead to the firm belief that we should all be conscious of this reality and thus committed, one way or another, all talents alike, and at every level, to uplift those around us, contributing to their progress, motivation and success. This is how communities grow – together.
The divisions in Britain today are immense and ever-expanding. We must use the challenges we face to unite and create a better future for young people.
It is the simplest of social ethics, ‘do for others as they do for you’. Very few native English speakers have not heard the phrase, “you scratch my back and i’ll scratch yours”; consider the fact that animals are the – comparatively unintelligent – inspiration for that expression. Even they know that this is the way forward! The authentic, meaningful responses I observed from children were powerful enough to help me realize the foundation of the above perspective. Some years later it reconnected me with SFC following my return to the UK.
Since my season on the School Programme ended seven years ago, I have remained active within charitable, non-profit, and other philanthropic networks, delivering value to local communities in Asia and Africa. Amidst personal investments, I co-founded a first-of-its-kind social media network, purpose-built for philanthropy.
~ Daniel A.S.