Charity organisation using football to unite youth
With the latest crime statistics showing murder figures surpassing 1400, the highest in years, aid organisation, International Youth Charity Foundation (IYCF) is attempting to channel sport as a mechanism to unite communities.
Following a successful football summer league earlier this year, which saw a tremendous showing from residents of the Rock Hall community, the organisers have vowed to remain in the space and keep the positive vibe alive right into the New Year.
The Community Christmas League kicked off last Sunday and will run until Boxing Day, December 26.
An event is also planned to bring the curtains down on the highly anticipated friendly competition.
BRING THE YOUTH TOGETHER
Bentley Davis of IYCF, told THE STAR, "We have seen how it has helped opposing areas and the community in general to come together. We are simply using Jamaica's favourite sport, football, to bring the youth together and keep them away from crime and violence. The games are well supported. The young people, who, according to statistics, are involved in the crime surge are who we target to get involved."
According to Davis, if the IYCF can impact one community at a time, they are willing to play their role in helping to deter youths from a life of crime.
In Rock Hall, THE STAR was told that the organisers have seen fractions that were once distant, come together because of football.
The organisers provide the requisite gear and instruments, while all the players have to do is show unity and play.
THE STAR was also told that talents were hand-picked from the last staging and recommended to a few of the top local Premier League teams for the chance to play professionally.
"We have approached some of the scouts of the Premier League teams to have them work with some of the promising youngsters," Davis said.
The IYCF is also involved in other communities such as Maxfield Avenue, Ambrook Lane and Rae Town.
Assistance has also been rendered to Melrose Primary and Rock Hall Primary.
The IYCF also has donors who have joined their initiative.
Davis said, "We would like to thank our partners and encourage other entities and stakeholders to come on board."