STRENGTHS IN SPORT
Military organizations in Brazil have been opening their doors to receive children and teenagers from underprivileged regions to play sports after school. In these units, they practice activities such as boxing, taekwondo, volleyball, athletics, judo and basketball.
The initiative is part of the Strengths in Sports Program (Profesp), carried out in partnership between the Special Secretariat for Sports of the Ministry of Citizenship and the Ministry of Defense, with the support of the Navy, Army and Air Force.
“It is a program to value life, to include people in situations of social vulnerability, to the concept of true citizenship”, said the director of the Department of Military Sports of the Ministry of Defense, Major Brigadier of the Air, José Isaías Augusto of Carvalho Neto.
“Its focus is on recovering, presenting children and young people with an axis of hope, a path that allows them to see a horizon beyond that of the troubled region that they may live in”, he explained.
Currently, Profesp serves about 30,000 children aged between six and 18 in military organizations across the country, with federal, state and municipal partnerships, in the public and private spheres. The program even reaches the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago and indigenous communities in the interior of the Amazon.
“Using the main tool that is sport, we want to reduce the vulnerability of these children to society's ills. We want to give this child a boost in self-esteem, show him that there are higher values ??that can put him out of that negative environment where they are”, said the director of the Department of Military Sports at the Ministry of Defense.
The sport transformed the life of Laura Amaro, who at the age of 13 saw the program in a Navy unit in Rio de Janeiro. Today, at the age of 20, she is a 3rd sergeant and practices weightlifting for the Navy's Olympic Program, in addition to being an athlete in the Brazilian national team in the category. Laura collects titles and medals in national competitions.
“The Strengths in Sport program was the great origin of my journey as an athlete. Here, program students and Navy sergeants, High Performance athletes, train together in a symbiosis. This enables children to have dreams, perspective and up close examples that they can follow. And that was exactly my process. All the children who pass or have passed through here had their lives changed in a big way”, he said.
“Everyone who went through this project, everyone here who went from the community, had some change, today they are going to college, they are working, I am also graduating in Physical Education”, she declared.
The Ministry of Defense emphasizes that the program's objective is not to turn these children into athletes, but that it is always possible to discover new talents and young people who bring the sport to life. “The competition is a stimulus within the activities, but it is not the focus of the pedagogical program. Eventually, we have several examples, some children showed aptitude, vocation, talent for some sporting activity with higher performance and then, in the centers where they are, they were sent to follow the steps that lead to becoming great athletes", explained the director .
“We have the tools for this talent to flourish and we can have there, perhaps a future athlete, a future medalist in the world's top competitions”, highlighted the major.