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Football-centric programme to groom at-risk teens

(From left) Phang, Umayal, Subahan and Pasupathi at the MOU signing ceremony between Rhythm Foundation, PJ City FC, MyPJ and MySkills Foundation.

RYTHM Foundation and three local organisations have joined forces to champion a youth development programme called Jaguh RF that aims to improve the lives of at-risk teenage boys.

The partnership with MySkills Foundation, MyPJ and PJ City Football Club (PJ City FC) will see teenage boys from low-income families, who are less academically inclined, to excel through sports.

Through a combination of activities aimed at holistic development, the programme will focus on utilising football to channel the energy and potential of 40 selected boys in a positive manner.

Rythm Foundation chairman Datin Seri Umayal Eswaran said the three-year programme would kick off this month, focusing on teenagers from communities in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

“Sports is a potent driver for social change in many communities around the world.

“With Malaysia’s love for sports, we believe we can use it as a tool to build trust and affect positive behavioural change among these boys, ” said Umayal at the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signing ceremony of the initiative.

She added that sports could be used as a powerful tool to promote a sense of belonging, fair play and respect among youths.

“For some of these young boys, sports provides a safe space for them to escape the harsh realities of their tough lives, which includes poverty and social exclusion.”

PJ City FC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal said he welcomed the initiative as he has seen how sports can help youth with character development.

“The future of our nation rests with our youth and it is important to nurture them towards attaining growth and transformation.”

Subahan said PJ City, which recently became the only all-Malaysian team in the Malaysian Super League, was committed to the cause and proud to be in partnership to help youths.

“We are also serious about treating this as a scouting exercise for future talents, ” he added.

Training providers for the programme MySkills Foundation will be focusing on character development while MyPJ will serve as the ground partner to identify youths who can benefit from the programme.

The programme’s character-building aspect will focus on five pillars — self-esteem, health, leadership, career, family and peers as well as community and nation.

MySkills Foundation director Pasupathi Sithamparam, who has been helping marginalised youths for 12 years, said the programme was another milestone for youth development in the country.

MyPJ chairman Jeffrey Phang said the programme had the potential to change participants’ course of life.

“This programme aims to produce youths who are holistically developed, able to manage their lives, make wise decisions in choosing their education and career paths as well as instil a sense of loyalty towards the community and nation, ” he added.

Source: The Star

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