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Growing Champions helps communities kick out poverty and crime

Growing Champions helps young people in tough neighbourhoods, giving them hope and support. They teach skills and help kids become leaders.

Found reimagining their lives on every football field they find themselves on are the Growing Champions of tomorrow.

Led by Sam Toweel-Moore, Growing Champions is a registered charity in Northcliff which provides mentoring for young people who are facing difficult circumstances, such as violence, criminal activity or addiction within their communities.

“GC began because of an 11-year-old kid telling me that dreams don’t come true,” said Toweel-Moore.
“I was doing some voluntary work alongside other people, and I met this boy. He was a good football player – so much so that we decided to get him scouted to the top football academy in Africa, to try and help him transform his life.

Some of the Growing Champions leaders with Samantha Toweel-Moore in Northcliff.
Some of the Growing Champions leaders with Samantha Toweel-Moore in Northcliff.

“He was super talented and we managed to get him to play in Ghana twice at the Right to Dream academy, which is a feeding scheme for Manchester City.

“Luckily he got scouted and we were all excited but then he told me he couldn’t go. He told me that dreams don’t come true because he had seen people in his community more talented than him come back and drop out of school and then fall into drugs and crime.

“This was the spark that led to the forming of Growing Champions with the ethos of wherever you are you can contribute and be a change leader.”

The NPO provides a seven-step program which involves education, sports, trauma therapy, personal development and spiritual growth.

“Firstly, they choose an identity of someone who progresses and overcomes any opponent they face; they then learn to cultivate values and gain tools to become leaders that will help other people.

“Each Growing Champion initiates a community project which will initiate change in an area of their choice, The project reflects their personal growth. This in turn helps the next to build their vision for a healthier community.”

From one of these community projects comes Tshepang Mokoena, a young man who has shone a different lens on his community. This lens enabled him to turn up the volume of the victims of poverty and violence that had gone unnoticed or had been silenced by their abusers.

Samantha Toweel-Moore, founder of the Growing Champions charity in Northcliff.
Samantha Toweel-Moore, founder of the Growing Champions charity in Northcliff.

“I wanted to scream out and shake up the world to notice,” said Tshepang.
“ To answer the cries of our people lost in the noise of life. Sitting in my mathematics class with my Growing Champions tutor I found my tool. Aunty Gil kindly handed me a camera to begin painting the picture of each story.”

Alex Marie started a project called ‘Better By Habit’ which aims to encourage personal development by enlightening the youth about the significance of habits and how to create habits that formulate healthy and successful lifestyles.

“Living in a drug-infested, criminal environment let me see first-hand how dangerous it is to drift into or engage in unhealthy habits,” he said.

These young people are Growing Champions leaders in their senior level within the programme and have become role models to their community.

“They work very hard to live a drug-free, addiction-free life where they live to build a brotherhood that is about everyone. They stand together to show the youth that they don’t need to follow this path and that there is a better, stronger path that is healthier,” added Toweel-Moore.

To learn more or to make a donation, visit Growingchamps.co.za or call 082 803 3866.

Related article: Growing Champions FC continues quest to win the league


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