A passionate volleyball coach is making a difference in the heart of Mitchells Plain, a community plagued by social issues such as drug addiction, gang violence, and street fights. Shaquil Bergstedt, a sports enthusiast, has founded a volleyball club that keeps young people engaged in fun activities while developing critical life skills that will benefit them.
The Birth of the Volleyball Club
In August last year, Bergstedt noticed many young people smoking cigarettes and engaging in other risky behaviors on the streets. He recognized the need to provide positive alternative activities for these children and decided to use his love for volleyball to bring about change in the community. So he launched the club, which now has over 60 members aged between 10 and 20 years, and it continues to grow.
For Bergstedt, teaching youngsters the fundamentals of playing volleyball is an ‘indescribable passion.’ However, the club is not just about playing volleyball. Bergstedt, alongside his co-coach Reagan Boks, teaches the children essential life skills such as leadership, teamwork, and discipline. In addition, the club provides a safe space for children to interact with each other, develop friendships and learn valuable lessons they can apply throughout their lives.
Challenges Faced by the Club
The need for more facilities is a significant challenge for Bergstedt. Most weekends are spent playing indoor or outdoor volleyball tournaments, and the older group is already participating in official games. However, the younger children are not yet eligible to participate in official matches, so they play friendly games for now.
Teaching the children to manage their emotions when they lose a tournament match has been challenging for Bergstedt, as they try to teach the kids that it is okay to fail sometimes. Funding is also a significant challenge for the club. Traveling to tournament venues, providing proper clothing gear, and providing food and drinks for the day all require funds, which they still need. As a result, the club has been forced to conduct fundraisers to raise money to cover the costs.
A Positive Impact on the Community
Bergstedt’s idea has made him happy, and it has also made the kids happy. Bergstedt makes a real difference in his neighborhood by making it safe and fun for young people to learn, play, and grow. He hopes the club will keep growing and encourage other young people to make good decisions.
In conclusion, Shaquil Bergstedt is an inspiring figure who has used his love for volleyball to make a real difference in the lives of young people in Mitchells Plain. Despite the challenges he and his team have faced, they have persevered, and their efforts have paid off in the form of a positive impact on the community.