How to make boys better men

 
 
 

Bullied and on the sidelines, Bradwin Louis felt alone. His classmates were merciless, making fun of his ears and the birthmark on his face. His self-confidence was shattered. But all that changed when he joined a sport initiative at his school. Through a series of team building activities, Louis absorbed life lessons that have left him brimming with a newfound resilience.

The CoolPlay Trust, an NPO started in 2010, uses activities and sport to help children and young adults develop life skills. With the assistance of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, the programme runs after-school sessions for youth who lack support at home and come from difficult backgrounds, through sports like rugby and netball, or a series of games. The activities are designed to bolster the message they would like to communicate, whether it be about working in a team, building self-confidence, or showing respect. A child psychologist and sports scientist helped develop the activities to teach kids about relevant issues in their life, ranging from mental health and bullying to HIV/AIDS. The result is improved physical and emotional wellbeing, school performance, and self-confidence.

The impact is clear in Louis’ demeanor. He stands with his back straight and a smile on his face. “It doesn’t matter what people think of us, what matters is our character and what we do with it,” Louis says. “No matter how you look or where you come from, you can still be the person you want to be.” By promoting sporting activity at local schools, our youth have the chance to not only discover and accept themselves, but to thrive.