After volunteer Darren discovered the benefits of living an active lifestyle, he became motivated to take up the sports program getting children moving in the townships of Cape Town.

Ten reps. 1 out of 3 people are unable to do ten repetitions of tricep dips, this is something my grade school PE teacher told us. Whether this is true or not, it doesn’t matter because I always remembered it for some reason. Fast forward 10 years; I’m out of shape, unhappy, desperately needing to make a change. It is this random stat he threw out at our class that motivated me to go to the gym for the first time in ages. 7 years later and I’m in the best shape of my life, playing sports, making new friends and much happier for it.

Such a small tidbit of information that he probably never thought about again has had a huge impact on my life. It is terrible to think that hundreds of thousands of children will never have the chance to receive this type of inspiration or motivation. Not everyone needs to be ‘jacked’ (or whatever is the buzz word these days), but everyone needs to be physically healthy. This especially includes children. Google around for active kid organizations and you’ll see that everyone is thinking the same thing. Look up all the reasons that physical activity is good for you and helps children do better in their studies and lives.

I truly believe in a holistic lifestyle. To be healthy and happy you must satisfy the mind, body and soul. This lifestyle has changed my life for the better in such an extreme way that it’s impossible to ignore. Our team is working in the Cape Town townships of Langa and Khayelitsha, which are two of the largest and oldest townships in the area. With the introduction of democracy the children are now finally getting a proper education in school, satisfying the mind. Their community, while impoverished, provides for the soul, take a look at how close and happy everyone is with so little materialistic possessions. Then there is the body, which is missing because Physical Education was removed from the curriculum during apartheid. Socrates has said “No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable”. The Greeks were also feverent believers of keeping the mind, body and soul strong to be a properly functioning human.

This is why I joined with African Impact to volunteer with sports, because it is something that is so important to my heart and something that is very clearly lacking for the children. Each day I see the kids faces and attitudes change from the beginning of our sessions to the end. They’re happier, physically exhausted but mentally alert and in a better state to learn. I don’t expect to strike a chord with anyone like my old PE teacher did with me, but I do see myself making a difference. I’m not saving lives, curing diseases or changing the world but I’m trying to help. We all are.

Darren is just about to finish his volunteer placement on our Sports Coaching and Development project in Cape Town, feel free to search it at the top right of the page.