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Scheme gives pupils chance to enhance their self-esteem

By Lisa Smyth

Published 24/10/2007

A scheme aimed at improving the self-esteem of Ulster pupils is to be launched today by the Lord Mayor of Belfast.

Jim Rodgers was due to help kick off the US-based Athletes for Kids programme at Victoria College this morning.

Brought to Belfast by local businessman and US Programme board member Paul Sweet, the Athletes for Kids team will be supported by local sporting stars, the Belfast Giants.

Their work with the participating students will culminate in a finale showcase performance.

Mr Rodgers expressed his enthusiasm for the programme, saying: "Belfast enjoys extensive links with the US - and not only in terms of business so I'm delighted to see this innovative American programme coming to our shores. It's teaching children the essential lessons of respect, motivation, discipline and teamwork through dance and sport - raising their quality and experience of life."

Mr Sweet said he was delighted to be involved in the programme which he said is relevant to a number of areas being promoted in schools today.

He said: " I think it's great for children to see ballet and ice-hockey within the same programme, and for them to challenge all the stereotypes which come with each. The programme will hopefully emphasise to all of the children who take part that no matter what they choose to pursue, it takes hard work, dedication and discipline to achieve their best."

The year eight pupils in Victoria College participated in a one-hour workshop where they developed skills in self-confidence, self-esteem and motivation through drama and dance."

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