Darius Charles has signed up to become an official ambassador for the Wycombe Wanderers Sports & Education Trust – the charitable arm of the football club – helping to mentor young people across a wide range of projects.
The 32-year-old is able to call upon his own experiences in football, most notably overcoming a chronic hip injury to defy doctors’ expectations by prolonging his career with the Blues this season, and kicked off his involvement with the Sports & Education Trust by assisting students from The Beaconsfield School on the Future Goals Project.
Darius said: "For me personally, I would love to come in as a good role model and as somebody who can help advise young men and women, help them set goals and have something to work towards.
"Footballers are put on a pedestal because of what we're fortunate and blessed to be able to do. Having had that taken away from me, even just for a short time, showed me that who you are as a human being and how you make people feel is incredibly important. I feel it's my duty to pass on love and wisdom to other people, and that's what I'm going to do with this group.
"I'm really happy to become an ambassador for the Sports & Education Trust and have already learned a great deal about the fantastic work they do across the whole community. For me to play even a small part in that would be a privilege and I'm excited to have started."
Paul Foley, Head of the Sports & Education Trust, said: “It’s fantastic to have Darius come on board as an ambassador of the Sports & Education Trust, and we are delighted to have his support behind our activities particularly relating to mentoring young people who – like him – have had to overcome challenges and obstacles in their lives.
“The students on the current Future Goals project were thrilled to meet and learn from a professional footballer, and became more and more engaged with the advice he was able to share, based on his experiences both in sport and in his everyday life.
“On behalf of everyone at the Sports & Education Trust, I’d like to thank Darius for agreeing to become an ambassador, and am excited to see the impact that I know he will make on the lives of many young people.”
The Future Goals project is one part of the Sports & Education Trust's wider Young People Mentoring Grant project, which is funded by Wycombe District Council.
The Young People Mentoring Grant project specifically targets local people who are:
- Committing low level disorder and anti-social behaviour;
- At risk of being drawn into low level gang activity;
- At risk of being recruited into more serious criminal activity;
- Excluded from school and education or not in employment;
- Referred to Early Help or Youth Offending Services.
The Future Goals element of the project focuses on working with targeted young people who are in years 8, 9 or 10 during the academic year 2019-20, and are currently disengaged with education, at risk of exclusion from mainstream schools, and those that struggle to overcome their particular challenges, enabling them to flourish.
For further information about Future Goals, please contact Head of Education Mark Heath on firstname.lastname@example.org.