THE VM Foundation, through its UpLift programme, recently conducted a series of personal and professional development sessions in football skills training, financial planning, and leadership workshops for Under-13 student footballers and their coaches. The sessions were held in partnership with Project Gold and We Imagine and saw over 40 students and 30 coaches engaged.
The VM Foundation, this year, expanded its Under-13 Football Competition, which is implemented through a partnership with the St James Football Association, to introduce a personal development programme in the form of VM UpLift. The competition was started over 30 years ago to foster the growth of the nation's young and upcoming football prodigies. VM UpLift focuses on improving the skills and capacities of coaches and participants in areas such as nutrition, health and well-being, leadership, and financial literacy, with a view to honing all the skills needed for high performance.
Reflecting on VM's commitment to transforming lives, CEO of the foundation Samantha Charles was keen to highlight the targeted nature of the initiatives supported and executed by the team.
"The work of the VM Foundation is genuinely invested in adding value to people's lives. How we ensure that we accomplish this is through establishing and maintaining a relationship with the individuals and groups we come in contact with so that we can properly measure our impact."
She continued: "Youth development and nation-building are processes that require a sustained, integrated approach as opposed to one-off engagements. Our UpLift programme is the perfect example of collaborating for a cause and it goes way beyond playing football. Both coaches and student athletes benefit from the expertise of highly regarded sports meisters, but they also learn and refine transferable life skills integral to their success as individuals and for when they are called on to work in teams."
The sessions, which covered topics, including goal setting, the financial principle of savings, the philosophy and fundamentals of coaching, effective communication in sports, and fostering problem solving in players on and off the field, were facilitated by an experienced cadre of VM's financial services specialists; former Sunshine Girl and project lead Simone Forbes; entrepreneur and business strategist Elloise Richards; CEO Of Institute of Law and Economics Dwayne Gutzmer; assistant coach for Jamaica's Reggae Girlz Andrew Pryce; and Australian high-performance Coach Robert Wright.
Wright explained to the coaches that the best results are realised when their students feel included:
"Players want to be involved in the process and as coaches we want them to be thinking players." He stressed that getting their feedback and input is key in developing this skill, underscoring that, as a result, athletes will perceive the tasks as something they want to do instead of something they were told to do.
The players also had the opportunity to participate in a number of drills and discussions facilitated by Wright, which employed the positive development approach of sports instruction. They were challenged to demonstrate their physical and mental fortitude via a series of activities and were also called on to justify the choices they made when the tasks required their specific leadership insight.
The financial education component of the sessions saw students engaged in animated group discussions as they tackled goal-setting worksheets together and devised plans to achieve the hypothetical goals that they had set for themselves in determined time frames. Through these activities many of the players came to the realisation of how much discipline and focus it will take for them to achieve their actual goals.
The UpLift sessions saw the VM Foundation, Project Gold, and We Imagine joining forces to foster and promote financial literacy, sports development, and leadership training in advancing efforts geared towards nation -building. The sessions were held at the Corinaldi Primary School in St James.