Nine primary school youngsters from a Montecasino-supported athletics club for children in Diepsloot joined 183 staff members on the renowned 702 Walk the Talk on 23 July.
The Tsogo Sun Athletics Club has been sponsored by Montecasino since it started in 2013 at Akani primary school and aftercare as an initiative that is gender and age inclusive, fun and motivational. About 33 children join in the Athletics Club activities for several hours every week.
Xolani Ntsatha, Coach at the school and manager of the Tsogo Sun Athletics Club, says the opportunity to join the Montecasino team on the 702 Walk the Talk was very exciting for the selected youngsters and two trainers. He applauds the support that the precinct gives the club which he says helps to keep youngsters off the streets while providing a platform to participate in athletics activities and fun runs. “Montecasino makes my job much easier with their support. Diepsloot is a dangerous place and it’s wonderful to be able to offer a safe environment for children to get fit and learn good values that will help them in life.”
At the Walk the Talk, Montecasino introduced a ‘buddy system’ to connect the young club members with staff members who are passionate about physical fitness and who could mentor the children on the walk, as well as in ongoing initiatives.
Richard Banda, age 12, and Isaiah Mabuza, age 11, both in Grade 6, have been with the club for three years. They love it, especially the participation with other people. Both thoroughly enjoyed the experience of the 702 walk with so many thousands of people, but most particularly, with the Montecasino staff who were in the buddy system and walked, and occasionally ran, with them. All the children were thrilled with their shiny new medals for completing the walk.
Says Mike Page, newly appointed GM of Montecasino, “The Tsogo Sun Athletics Club fills a real need for physical and mental fitness among disadvantaged children in Diepsloot, while also teaching life skills and values that can bring about meaningful and measurable change in their lives. The 702 Walk the Talk was a wonderful opportunity for our staff to build team spirit, and to contribute to the lives of vulnerable children.”