For communities and people across the world, football is more than just a game. Football has the power to unite, empower and inspire beyond the constraints of the pitch.
Football Victoria’s recently announced ‘Empowering Lives Through Football’ program aims to channel these qualities into supporting Victoria’s most at-risk youth groups.
The early intervention program is targeting 30 to 50 male and female youths who are at a high risk of offending or, are already displaying behaviours that may limit their ability to achieve positive life outcomes.
“Empowering Lives Through Football is a tremendous initiative that can make a positive impact to the lives of many young Victorians,” Football Victoria President Antonella Care said.
Football Victoria CEO Kimon Taliadoros echoed Care’s sentiment.
“Football often provides people with a strong sense of belonging and comradery. We believe we can harness this to help at-risk Victorians find a constructive outlet that will strengthen their ties to their local communities,” he said.
The Empowering Lives Through Football initiative is a part of FV’s commitment to the Sports Alliance. Formed in June 2020, the alliance is a collective of sporting organisations who are working alongside State Government to use sport as a preventative for youth crime.
Backed by $1.4 million of funding, the programs are designed to target at-risk youth and address root causes of crime.
“It’s this kind of community leadership and collaboration that helps us build safer and stronger communities,” Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula said.
The group of attendees will be formed through a mixture of referrals from Victoria police, local schools and community groups.
Selected youths will attend educational sessions focused on mentoring, self-exploration, self-improvement and empowerment. There will be a strong emphasis on reducing anti-social attitudes and behaviour which can lead to a high-risk of offending.
In addition to workshops and education, the attendees will take part in football related activities such managing a public football carnival. There may also be opportunities to graduate to the Football Victoria Club Crime Prevention program and they will receive the relevant qualifications for their work.
FV are hoping that Empowering Lives Through Football will encourage at-risk youth to develop stronger community ties and pursue constructive pathway as football players, coaches, referees or football administrators.