St John Paul II and the role of sport
The John Paul 2 Foundation 4 Sport (JP2F4S) was launched by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Britain in 2010 and became a Registered Charity (1144087) in September 2011.
The Charity launched the first Olympic Legacy club in the UK – an after-school club Sports Squared – at St Charles’s Square, London W10 6EL on 12th October 2012.
Inspired by St John Paul II’s vision for sport, its overarching aim is the building of young people’s character and the development of their life-skills.
JP2F4S has developed educational programmes which use sport to help young people improve their self-esteem and thus motivation and aspirations so as to become the best they can be.
Its programmes are both preventative and redemptive as they not only encourage young people to avoid making mistakes but, if these have been made, steer the young people back onto a creative life-track.
Working with organisations such as The Unity of Faiths Foundation, JP2F4S strives to increase community cohesion and reduce the risks of radicalisation.
Invited into Worrmwood Scrubs HMP, the Foundation is developing a programme to educate soon-to-be-released, non seriously-violent, non-arsonist, non sex-offender young inmates, not only in sports coaching skills but in developing a new attitude to life. It will also provide on-going mentoring to them and their families, while ensuring they have adequate accommodation, so as to avoid re-offending.
In sport – as in life – the past is a rehearsal for the present.
Based as it is at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, John Paul 2 Foundation 4 Sport – in partnershship with this university – is developing coaching programmes for amateur and community-based sports clubs around the country, as well as enriching the univerity’s curricula with its JP2F4S ethos and methodology.
Truth be told, it aims to help young people, whatever their abilities and backgrounds, to fulfil their potential through the study and practice of sport.