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Going The Extra Mile for Sydney

07 April 2020 in 4:25PM

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Whist we had to postpone the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay Sydney race, the great news is that runners still had an opportunity to give back to their community and vote for their winning cause.

We are delighted to announce, that with an incredible 46% of the vote, 2020’s winning cause is Mental Health. The Extra Mile grant will go toward sports programming in communities which will create a safe space for discussions around mental health in youth. For young people, the emotional impact of social distancing and self-isolation has become increasingly challenging and so, the program will look to connect young people and create social interaction during this unique and challenging time.

Coaches Across Continents has been the charity partner for the Sydney race for three years, which has allowed them to deliver consistent, sustainable programming to underserved schools in Western Sydney. Coaches Across Continents are the global leaders in Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom programs to impact the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In Sydney, they work with community partner, Football United who create chances for Australia and Myanmar’s youth through football. Together they provide opportunities in sports and education to at-risk refugees and displaced people in their community.

Representative from Coaches Across Continents addressing the crowd at the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay Sydney 2019.

Coaches Across Continents helped to identify three social causes unique to the city of Sydney, with Inclusion as last year’s winning cause. The donation funded a year-long program promoting communication between youth and police. It provided the officers with paths to use sport to connect with youth in a positive, inclusive and fun environment throughout the year with schools across Sydney participating in leadership, communication and teamwork programming. Programming also involved multiple interactive and exciting events that promoted peace, non-violence and anti-discrimination including the Football for Peace Annual Festival and the FIFA Foundation Festival.

The impact on the city was exponential, supporting 500 children and youth weekly through educational programming that showed behavioural changes such as greater school engagement, higher resilience – particularly among girls, and increased pro-social attitudes.

A participant in the program said: “Football United has a big impact in my life. It taught me how to do things better, how to be more inclusive and how we can all  work all together in peace no matter where we came from, our religion or skin colour.”

Participants of Football United’s Female Football Festival which benefited from The Extra Mile donation.

Another participant, Eele, joined the Football United program only three months after he had arrived in Australia and was struggling to communicate with his teachers and peers due to the language barrier. He felt completely out of his comfort zone, however, through challenging himself to coach the primary school students, he discovered new skills and qualities he never knew he had inside him. This boosted his self-confidence and manifested in a drastic improvement in his communication skills. He became a leader to the other students, who now look up to him.

“The program is extremely important as it has equipped me with the beliefs, tools and steps needed to achieve my overall career goals beyond school,” said Eele.

We hope that this year’s fund will have a lasting impact on the city and support many youths through the current pandemic. Thank you for your ongoing support and for continuing to go The Extra Mile for your community!