ASCOT Vale resident James is using football to drive social cohesion, as part of an innovative project to unite Melbourne’s youth.
James will join other young people to deliver ‘I Speak Football’ – a youth-led program run by the Centre for Multicultural Youth in partnership with Melbourne City Football Club.
I Speak Football is one of six projects chosen to become part of Cityzens Giving, a global community initiative that has extended the ‘football effect’ to areas of need across the globe. Now in its second year, I Speak Football will be run by local young people like James, to connect diverse young students in schools across Melbourne’s northern suburbs.
One of the forerunners of the I Speak Football project, James said he wanted to use his love for sport to give back to a community that welcomed him.
“I come from a different country and the way I was welcomed when my family arrived, I wanted to give back in some way,” James said.
As a second generation Australian of Assyrian background, James said young people of refugee and migrant backgrounds often face multiple challenges when settling in Australia.
“It can be difficult settling in a new country, but with the right support and giving young people the chance to embrace the opportunities they get, they can succeed,” he said.
“I Speak Football connects young people irrespective of their cultural background and gives them a sense of belonging in the community.”
The project impacted over 100 young people in Melbourne last year, while four Young Leaders including James, were given the opportunity to participate in a global leadership summit in Manchester.
To get involved with I Speak Football, please click here.