AFTER an unforgettable summer of sport, 48 athletes have signed up to join sprint legend Darren Campbell's team of athlete mentors visiting secondary schools across the UK this academic year as part of Sky Sports Living for Sport.
Now in its ninth year, the free secondary schools initiative delivered in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust has a host of athlete mentors who competed at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games on board. The programme aims to help improve the lives of thousands more young people across the UK.
Sky Sports Living for Sport uses sport stars and sport skills to help students in the East Midlands and across the UK improve all areas of their lives.
The 2012/13 mentors have been specially selected because of their inspiring journeys to success, and they will visit secondary schools to motivate pupils and encourage them to apply the life lessons they've learned through sport.
The mentors selected to visit schools in the East Midlands are:
Daniel Caines, Former 400m world indoor champion;
Dermot Gascoyne, Former heavyweight boxing star & British No 1;
Anthony Clark, 9 x England National badminton doubles champion;
Joe Bestwick, Paralympic wheelchair basketball bronze medallist;
Leon Baptiste, 2010 Commonwealth 200m & 4x100m relay gold medallist.
When a school runs a Sky Sports Living for Sport project, they receive up to two visits from an Athlete Mentor who shares their life story with the students, talking about their sporting career, and sharing the challenges they have had to overcome to achieve success.
The visits aim to inspire the students, and demonstrate that lessons learned through sport – such as mental toughness and planning for success – can help them achieve their own goals in life.
Athlete mentor Leon Baptiste said: "We have just witnessed an incredible summer of sport with athletes from across the UK, and all walks of life, showing exactly what can be achieved through commitment and determination.
"I hope students from the East Midlands returning to school this autumn, will have a new enthusiasm for PE and sport, and that I can use my role to demonstrate how sport can be used to help improve all areas of their lives. As an athlete mentor, my focus is very much on imparting the wider skills that can be learned through sport. My focus this year is to help secondary students become the stars of the future by helping them develop the skills they need to succeed in whatever career they wish to pursue.
"I am really looking forward to meeting students from across the East Midlands this year and am sure they will prove to be as much of an inspiration to me as I am to them."
Darren Campbell MBE, and Sky Sport Living for Sport's ambassador comments: "In my four years as ambassador I've been blown away by the number of lives I've seen changed through this initiative. With the excitement of this summer behind us, we have an incredible opportunity to motivate and inspire secondary school students to embark on their own journeys to success through Sky Sports Living for Sport projects and our athlete mentor visits."
John Steele, chief executive at the Youth Sport Trust, added: "It's great to see so much support from athletes eager to share their life experiences. Sport is a great way of bringing out the best in young people and by working with these athlete mentors, they can be shown that anything is possible if they have belief in themselves; it's a powerful message."
With the help of free online project planning tools and T-shirts, more than 2,700 schools have reaped the benefits of Sky Sports Living for Sport since it launched nine years ago. This year will be the biggest ever for the initiative, which aims to send mentors to 1,500 UK secondary schools to provide inspiration to participating students.
To find out more visit www.skysports.com/livingforsport