My name is Maddy Ford, and I am the Women and Girls Programmes Manager at The Change Foundation. My role primarily involves planning and delivering our projects to young women and girls. I am also involved in organising fundraising events for our programmes. Additionally, I lead the Young Ambassadors project and Wellbeing Steering Group as I am passionate about giving young voices a platform and supporting the mental health of our team and young people.
I began my journey with The Change Foundation over 5-years ago as a young person on the Team Habana Youth Leadership programme. It was an intensive three day training residential where I participated in multiple workshops. These workshops covered topics such as growth mindset, delivering sports for social change work, leadership style development and designing a social change sports project for my community. I believe that the overall experience catalysed a change in my life. The mentoring that I received over the three days opened my eyes to opportunities available to me and encouraged me to be ambitious in my career.
When I first joined The Change Foundation I had extremely low self-confidence and lacked direction in life. I became isolated and distrustful of people around me. I did however possess a desire to create change for other young people who were on the fringes of society like me. The encouragement, reliability, and wealth of opportunities that the coach mentors offered us enabled me to grow into the best version of myself that I could be and inspired me to continue challenging myself. As a result of the support, I received I started a career which quickly progressed to full time work, achieved promotions, travelled across three continents, and won national awards. I would never have been able to imagine this would have been my future 5-years ago.
After experiencing the transformative power of sport and mentoring first-hand, I realised that I could use my skills and knowledge to support the next generation of young people who are much more socially aware and hungry for change. In the past year alone, young activists have inspired societal change across the globe with movements tackling inequality, climate change and poverty. I believe that it is our responsibility to nurture young people, refine their skills and empower them to use their drive to disrupt the status quo and create a better future for us all.