All Work And No Play…
Goofing around, acting up, horseplay... kids will be kids, right? In the perfect world, that answer would always be yes. But it turns out that play is serious stuff—it’s been recognized by the UN as the right of every child. Sadly, youth who are experiencing adversity don’t always get the time they need to simply be children. International organization Right To Play is standing up for kids’ right to let their hair down.
Why We Love It!
Elite athletes from all over the world serve as ambassadors to encourage behavior change—building kids’ self-esteem, improving problem-solving and teamwork, and bolstering their capacity for communication. The group is active in over twenty countries worldwide, working both directly with children and at a governmental level to help positively influence policy.
Four time Olympic gold medalist Johann Olav Koss knows a thing or two about the positive power of sport. The speed skater, widely considered to be one of the best in the sport’s history, served as lead Athlete Ambassador for an organization called Olympic Aid whose goal was to show support for people in war-torn countries in areas of distress. In 2000, Olympic Aid incorporated, transitioning from fundraising vehicle to NGO with its lead athlete now at the helm.
The Good News...
In the twelve years since it was founded, Right To Play has seen great strides. Sport was even recognized in the Millennium Development Goals! Of course, it may have been a no-brainer. Achieving universal primary education, reducing child mortality, and promoting gender equality by empowering women are all fundamental components of the most useful thing of all: A level playing field.