“Sports Network” initiative – more exercise for children

High-rise buildings with up to 25 floors: Berlin’s Gropiusstadt, which turns 60 in November, is nestled in green areas. In 1962, the foundation stone was laid by Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius and former reigning mayor Willy Brandt.

Collaboration with day care institutions and schools

There live about 37,000 people, about 38 percent with a migration background. Like the metropolitan area of ​​Marzahn, Prenzlauer Berg and Wedding, Alba Berlin, the German basketball champion and initiator of the “Sports Network”, has also long been active on the southern outskirts with its idea: The sports club comes to children in day care centers and schools.

Philipp Hickethier, head of the sports and education department: “Specifically, we collaborate with eight day care institutions, ten schools, and we offer additional sports and exercise programs at these day care institutions and schools.”

48 percent of the children in Gropiusstadt live in poverty. Everyday movement is a foreign concept to many girls and boys. For many years, there were few cultural and sporting activities in places where there are mainly social housing. There are now a few of them. District Manager Selma Tuzlali reports:

“We have a so-called Gropius mile. This is a fitness mile that stretches over several kilometers and also has a place where several fitness machines stand together so that people can also play sports in groups, but unfortunately there are not many who take advantage of these offers.

Not just a philanthropic approach

The negative image that outsiders had of Gropiusstadt well into the 1990s has changed in recent years thanks to Alba’s commitment, as Philipp Hickethier explains. And further:

“We now have 150 partner schools in Berlin and 50 partner day care institutions in our program, and of these, a total of 200 educational institutions, about 75 percent tend to be in socially disadvantaged areas.”

With all social commitment, the association is also honest and not only pursues a philanthropic approach:

“Of course we would like a top basketball player to come out there at some point, because on the other hand we also find the identity of such a space, if you can say that the boy or girl who plays there in the Bundesliga team , comes from Gropiusstadt. “

14 places nationwide

Change of location: “Sports Network” invited to a panel debate at the Department of Sports Science at Berlin’s Humboldt University. Alba project manager Hendrik Brösel is also involved in:

“The fact that you deliberately go into polluted areas, where it is not so easy for children to get into sports, that this work we do here can be transferred to the whole of Germany – we are now rolling it out together with the foundation. We are supported by the Auridis Foundation and also by the Beisheim Foundation. “

There are currently 14 locations nationwide. Meanwhile, the “Sports Network” has been around for well over a year. Besides Alba, the Bundesliga club Werder Bremen and several amateur clubs are there as well.

Professionals should help amateurs

Igor Riyabinin, Alba’s head of social affairs and sustainability, helped develop the concept. He adds: “Although we have already noticed that the professional clubs, which are more organized at the head office, have an easier time implementing our approach. While the clubs, which come more from grassroots sports, need more time to grow into it. But it also works. ”

For example, in the multi-genre club Aeltere Casseler Turngemeinde von 1848. 60 to 70 percent of the members are active in basketball. The first chairman, Cedric Toth, says:

In the meantime, we use two social spaces in the Kassel area. We have a total of over 30 or 40 partnerships with primary schools, colleges and day care institutions. We can only do this with the help of a lot of actors in our city. This means that we attend family network meetings, district work groups and get to know the actors there. ”

“Sports Network” sees itself as an initiative where professionals help amateurs if they wish. However, the initiative does not focus exclusively on sports clubs. Universities, schools, city sports associations and district managements such as the Berlin Gropiusstadt can also participate. Everyone who wants to join is cordially invited.

Encourage lifelong exercise

The head of social affairs and sustainability at Alba Berlin, Igor Riyabinin, explains: “What we are pursuing is a great idea, is a new sports idea for Germany, which is about: how to get started in the sport? How do children become athletes? ”

“Sports network” follows the approach of laying the foundation for lifelong sports activity in childhood. The initiative does not want to compete with social organizations that use sports for their work, but rather coordinate with them.

If everyone recognizes and promotes the potential that lies in this project, society as a whole can only benefit from it.

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