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Community Last Updated: Oct 27, 2017 - 2:19:14 PM


CIBC FirstCaribbean Staff Support Scholastic Achievement through Youth Soccer
By Serena Williams
Oct 27, 2017 - 2:00:51 PM

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It’s YES to YESi! Palmdale and Sandyport branches of CIBC FirstCaribbean donated their Adopt-A-Cause funds to the top non-profit kids soccer and academic programme, “Youth Empowerment Through Soccer International” (YESi). The programme incentivizes kids to do better in school via their love of the soccer training and competitive play. L to R: Anishka Bain, Palmdale branch Customer Relationship Manager; Paul Bartlett, Palmdale branch Manager; Cherise Archer, Sandyport branch Manager; Karis Carey, Sandyport Customer Service Officer Foreign Exchange; Jene Curry, Sandyport Customer Care Officer. Photo: Serena Williams P.R.

Nassau, Bahamas - Some aspiring soccer stars will get the opportunity to hone their skills on the field and in their classrooms as well.

The youngsters drawn from three local schools will benefit as part of the YESi (Youth Empowerment Through Soccer International) programme, which was started at Gambier School in western New Providence by former professional player and national team standout Happy Hall in 2010, and now includes kids from Carmichael and Adelaide schools.

Nassau’s Palmdale and Sandyport branches of CIBC FirstCaribbean recently pooled their charitable budget and made a donation to the non-profit organization as part of the bank’s Adopt-A-Cause program. The donation supports YESi’s efforts to positively impact the community at large by teaching life disciplines to children through soccer training regimes, competitive game play and a scholastic incentive scheme that has seen grade point averages rise.

The programme provides professional-level soccer training, competitions, recreational soccer, and the opportunity to travel overseas to play other teams. To help achieve YESi’s youth empowerment goals, scholastic help is also provided after school to assist the kids with their homework, special projects and in English and math.

“If kids don’t achieve a 2.0 grade point average (GPA) they may be placed on what we call ‘academic probation,’ meaning they can’t play until they get their GPA up,” said Happy Hall. “It works! It’s a great incentive as they love to play soccer; we’ve seen grades rise across an entire school.  YESi also has a rewards programme for those sustaining a 3.0 or higher average, and to date, 15 kids in grades 5 to 11 have received funding for private schools here in The Bahamas, and abroad.”

Stacy Johnson has two boys enrolled in YESi, aged eleven and fourteen.

“My boys started soccer with YESi when they were youngsters at Gambier school, and because they loved the soccer training so much they were motivated to do well in school and both boys got scholarships; my youngest, Nahum, is at Meridian and Joshua is at Aquinas College,” said the proud mom.

Paul Bartlett, Manager at CIBC FirstCaribbean Palmdale branch, said their Adopt-A-Cause committee chose to donate funds to YESi because they know the program to be community-minded and geared toward building kids both athletically and academically.

“We felt it important to support Happy and his team in their efforts to reach out and assist our nation’s youth. We see the difference his programme is making for the kids and their families.” – more -

Hall said that the original purpose of starting YESi in The Bahamas was to create an opportunity for kids who may never have had a true experience with organized sport. 

“It is often over-looked how a sports team can become a family, where life lessons are learned that are essential to a child’s education; where an avenue for growth develops and mentorship opportunities arise that can lead to the development of influential and productive citizens.”    

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