To mark each of this season’s Global Young Leader Forums, supported by Cisco, we will shine a light on a young leader in the network.
We start this series with Chiara, a young leader in Manchester since 2016, who has recently gained full-time employment with City in the Community as a community football coach.
What is your earliest football memory?
My earliest memory of football is in school playgrounds and with family. And the most enjoyable part was playing with friends.
How did you get involved with City in the Community?
I first got involved with City in the Community (CITC) in 2016 on the CITC BTEC programme at Connell Sixth Form College.
I started volunteering on the City Girls programme and that’s when I became a Young Leader. I then went on to do a degree with CITC, which enabled me to become a full-time coach.
Can you tell us about your experiences connecting with other young leaders in the global network?
I’ve been lucky enough to connect with other young leaders around the world, both in Manchester during Global Summits and more recently via online forums.
We all use football as a tool to improve the lives of young people around the world.
Being part of this network really inspired me because it gave me a lot of role models to look up to.
I’ve learnt lots of activities and energisers from other young leaders which have really benefitted me in my coaching.
The CITC staff and young leaders have given me lots of inspiration, confidence and support. They are the reason why I am now a coach.
How has technology helped you to adapt your programmes?
Over the last 18 months, we’ve been using Cisco technology to connect with other young leaders around the world.
We got to do online workshops and create content for different events. Delivering online sessions is something I wasn’t very comfortable with before, however I now feel very confident in this.
The challenges of online delivery were recreating that connection that we would have had out on the pitch. It was great to see the girls still playing football even though they were at home.
One of the benefits of online sessions was seeing other family members and siblings get involved.
Using Cisco technology has also helped me learn about how to be a lot more adaptable as a coach, and even helped me in schools when it comes to adapting.
What advice would you give to other young leaders?
My advice to all other young leaders around the world is to take up all the opportunities you are given as a young leader and also to believe in yourself and have confidence in yourself.
What impact would you like to have in the future?
At the minute I am living what would have been my end goal when starting out as a Young Leader in 2016.
I would like to continue to grow as a coach and continue inspiring other young leaders and children, especially girls in sport.
I’m really grateful and thankful for everything City in the Community have done for me over the past five years.
I never thought I would now be a full time coach and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the future.
City in the Community’s Outreach Officer for Girls, Niamh Nolan, has worked with Chiara through the Young Leader programme for four years.
Niamh said: “Chiara’s journey is a brilliant example of how City in the Community and the Young Leader programme create pathways from participant to employment.
"During her time as a young leader, she has gone from strength to strength and the programme has made a real difference to her confidence as a coach.
“Now a full-time member of staff, she has been making an early impact to the CITC team and it’s brilliant to see her help to shape the next generation.”