SportCares Foundation - Changing Lives Through Sport
Three years ago, Abdul Hayei Azizz was an angry teenager whose only passion in life was football. He was not interested in school, he was not interested in working. The youngest of eight children, he bounced among his siblings’ homes, moving on when he broke the household rules. He was either hanging out with his friends or playing football. Then he got thrown off his regular football team for smoking. He was expelled from school for too many absences.
It was a desperate boy who reached out for help from the team at SportCares. Late one night, he sent a text, asking: “Am I such a bad kid that no one wants me?”
The youth who come into SportCares’ programmes think they are there solely to learn how to play a better game of ball. But we have a much deeper agenda than that – which is to help them change their lives for the better. We work to develop their confidence and capabilities and to inspire their spirit to give back to society.
Since that midnight text, Hayei has become one of SportCares’ most enduring stories of changing for good. His story is unique only in the details. Hayei’s decision to live a more purposeful life as a result of his participation in SportCares is not at all unique. Through well-designed sports programming, SportCares has been taking underprivileged and at-risk children and youth on a journey of social inclusion, community bridging and personal empowerment.
Great sports programming is just the glue that catches the interest of the boys and girls who join SportCares. We trained and deployed more than 300 youth from hardship backgrounds for the SEA Games and more than 175 for the ASEAN Para Games, youth who were on probation from the Ministry of Family and Social Development. In total, the SportCares youth have volunteered more than 15,000 hours in support of Sport Singapore and of society in general.
In 2015, Hayei was one of the hardest-working, most reliable volunteers at both the 28th SEA Games (SEAG) and 8th ASEAN Para Games (APG). His work at the SEAG as a floor manager and at the NILA Suite for Athletes was so outstanding that he was nominated as a torch bearer for the APG. “I never ever thought I would be part of national events like the SEAG and APG. I am so proud to be carrying the torch,” Hayei said at the time. “I don’t know where I would have ended up without support from SportCares.”
The SportCares team worked with his coach from the prosocial football Saturday Night Lights to provide extra counselling for Hayei to improve his decision-making. They also wrote to his school about reinstatement and got him in touch with a social worker. SportCares team took him on as an intern to expand his knowledge of sports management and event planning.
These days, Hayei is studying hard at the ITE College Central and working part-time. He is captain of his football team and worrying about other youth. He has quit smoking. He is part of a SportCares collaboration with the Youth Corps Singapore. He is hoping to get into a polytechnic after he completes National Service. He has plans for the future and achievable dreams.
No longer the angry young teenager, he says with immense satisfaction: “I am happy.”
SportCares Foundation (SportCares) is at the heart of a growing national movement to use sport for social good. In partnership with corporates and community groups, SportCares has organised programmes and projects that have touched the lives of more than 9,000 children, youth and adults. While each programme has its unique characteristics, SportCares’ mission has never varied: to activate sport for social inclusion, personal empowerment and community bridging.
Want to do your part for SportCares?
SportCares is looking for partners to help them fund-raise, develop and deliver programming to help people live better through sports.
You can join the SportCares Movement by volunteering your time and expertise, or by playing on Team SportCares.
SportCares also accepts donations made through www.simplygiving.com/nonprofit/SportCares or
Donations above $50 will generate a tax credit of 2.5 times the original amount for the donor.
To find out more about SportCares and their latest happenings, connect with them at facebook.com/SportCaresSG.