When France won the world cup for the second time in 2018 (the first time was in 1998), the nation was caught in jubilant celebrations from Lille to Nice. In such moments, the power of sport is indisputable and for all to see. In this case, bringing together the entire country united under an innate sense of pride. But the power of sport extends beyond certain times, teams or nations; at an individual level, sport has the ability to instill discipline, confidence, and ambition and serve as the starting point for a healthy lifestyle.
The personal benefits of sport are well documented, particularly in young people. In lower-income areas especially, sport can be a way out, it can help break a difficult cycle – opening doors of opportunity which may not have otherwise existed. Unfortunately, children and adolescents growing up in these areas often have restricted access to recreational activities—such as sports—and therefore miss out on the benefits and advantages they can provide.
Sport dans la Ville is France’s leading non-profit serving disadvantaged kids through sports and job-readiness training. Founded in 1998, it operates in 36 urban neighborhoods around the country, leading young people on the path towards a brighter future through the virtues of sport. About 6,000 members currently utilize the services of Sport dans la Ville and its various projects.
Funds received through CAF America were used to bolster the organization’s professional integration program, Jobs dans la Ville. The program works with over 1,100 young people annually to act as a gateway into the working world by helping to define their career goals, developing professional skills, and gaining real-world experiences. Through the course, participants have direct access to internships and seasonal and/or permanent jobs both at home and abroad. For those who aren’t yet sure what career path they’d like to take, Jobs dans la Ville offers group field visits to businesses and institutions to help members observe & gain an understanding of various professions enabling them to make an informed decision about their own careers.
Sarah, 15, has benefited from what Jobs dans la Ville has to offer by going on a trip to Hungary and a trip to Marseilles to visit the Coca-Cola factory. In particular, she appreciates that the organization focuses positively on girls as well as boys, factoring in their interests when planning such trips.
Soraya Cherifi is one such graduate of Entrepreneurs dans la Ville. After presenting her plan for an insurance brokerage firm, she turned her dream into a reality and is now the Founder of Facilia Assurances.
Jobs dans la Ville, individual support by a Professional Development Coach is provided to those involved. Furthermore, structured mentoring by volunteers employed by Sport dans la Ville’s corporate partners (including Bank of America Merrill Lynch) provide valuable advice and direction to participants in the initiative. In fact, 82% of “graduates” go on to find long-term employment or enter a recognized training program.
Entrepreneur dans la Ville – a program designed to young adults create their own business. Directly utilizing these funds, Entrepreneur dans la Ville is engaging over 60 teenagers to participate in either a seminar, regional entrepreneurship exhibition, or three months training which included developing an idea and business plan from scratch, as well as seeing that idea through until launch. On completion of the course, graduates are invited to present their idea before a jury in order to receive their diploma.
Sport & Jobs is unique in that it guides its participants through crucial stages in their life, beginning at six years old and continuing to early adulthood. By introducing kids to the personal benefits of sport, engaging them in essential learning experiences, and eventually providing access to employment opportunities, organizations like Sport dans la Ville & Jobs have touched the lives of thousands of young people around France.