Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Closest To Home Is What Inspires The Most

This may be the 20th post where I have mentioned My Angels Academy, but its hard not to write about every visit I make to that magical place. My Angels Academy is a program run out of a Vikaspuri (West Delhi) slum which uses football to empower the lives of  a 100+ youth.  It is by far my favorite place to visit in Delhi beating out some of my other favorites places which include Karims in Old Delhi, the Mughal park in Hauz Khas Village and Lodi Gardens.

My Angels is not only a place I like to visit myself, but it is also a place I like to bring others to as well. Over the past few years I've introduced the Angels to everyone from the Director of FCBEscola to a friend of a friend who was interested in taking pictures of an NGO. No matter who visits the Academy, they always leave West Delhi touched, moved and inspired by the excellent work being done by Academy founder/president/mother/father/brother/teacher Sylvester Peter and the Angels who are clearly transformed beings.

This past weekend we brought one of the players we represent, Robin Singh, to Vikaspuri to visit the Angels.  Robin is not only a young, personable Indian national team player, he is also from the Delhi NCR area which makes him the perfect person to introduce to the Angels.

I've sat in the My Angels Academy clubhouse many times in the past and listened to all sorts of personalities speak to the kids about a variety of topics. Each one was powerful in his or her own way, however Robin was something different. He is an incredibly genuine person who authentically shared his story of growing up as an active boy in Noida to now representing India at the international level.  There was something special in the room when he was speaking as if the boys and girls were digesting every morsel of every word he was saying and integrating it into their own DNA.  In a lot of ways, Robin is still a young boy and can connect very well with any aspiring footballer, but the fact that he grew up nearby makes his story so much more exciting for these slum dwelling youth who dream of donning the India jersey one day.

After the interactive session, we spent the rest of the afternoon on the pitch watching Robin show off footwork and precise passing skills through a series of small sided games. It was truly a special afternoon for everyone involved and I saw firsthand how inspiring it is for these Angels to meet someone who has made it from their own city.  Just cant wait for the day that someone from their slum returns to share his or her success story. I know that day will happen....

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