Smiles and emotions: a look back at the Foundation in 2019
Committed to bringing happiness on a daily basis to children going through difficult times, the Paris Saint-Germain Foundation has had a year 2019 to remember.
Each year for the past 19 years, the Paris Saint-Germain Foundation - Children First has been working full-time to help children affected by social or medical difficulties. It sets up programs to offer these children moments of happiness, to make them forget their illness or to offer a little peace for a moment, using sport and its values as a vehicle for learning, development and solidarity.
And the children are not the only beneficiaries of these programs, since they also contribute to the professional integration of young educators from the Foundation's training program. Paris Saint-Germain's players are also real patrons, and they also play an active role in the Foundation's activities.
What has the Foundation done this year?
During 2019, it set up more than 430 activities in the field, sharing moments that will remain engraved in the memories of more than 18,000 children.
This year, the Foundation continued to develop its Red & Blue Schools, two schools located in the heart of the 19th arrondissement of Paris and the Cité du Val Fourré in Mantes-la Jolie, where 128 children go twice a week after school with the Foundation's educators. Sports, games and activities are open to a wider public in the areas on Wednesday afternoons. This commitment has been extended outside school periods with the Red & Blue Holidays, an opportunity to offer children from working-class neighbourhoods dream holidays in exceptional places such as Clairefontaine or Marcoussis.
With its ‘Allez Les Filles!’, or ‘Go Girls!’ program, the Foundation has also made it one of its priorities to initiate and raise awareness among young girls to the practice of sports when they do not have the opportunity to do so. At the end of this annual program, the Foundation continues to encourage them by offering them the sports license of their choice, and by closing the year with a week of fun and sports holidays. During the season, the young girls can exchange with the professional players of the Paris-Saint-Germain Women’s team, who sponsor the program.
In addition to its support for refugees and donations to associations, the Paris Saint-Germain Foundation has further strengthened its ties with ‘Secours Populaire Français’, ‘Action Contre la Faim’, and the ‘Mains dans la Mains’ et ‘Solidarité’ charities, extending its deep commitment to supporting communities in difficulty.
As it has since 2012, the Foundation also continued its commitment to the Necker Children’s Hospital. Once again this year, the three professional teams at Paris Saint-Germain took turns at the bedside of young hospitalised children. Gifts distributed, complicity, surprise guests and a small party organized within the hospital itself: this year was again rich in emotion between the club's ambassadors and the sick children.
Finally, 2019 also reflected the club's desire to continue its support for people with disabilities by relying on sport as a vector for integration and awareness. This commitment to disabled sports came together this year with the creation of the adapted football section at the Plaine de Clamart stadium. Last June, they also took part in the "Football is more" international tournament alongside youngsters from foundations of other major European clubs for the third consecutive year.
"The common thread of 2019 is the consolidation of our actions for people with physical and mental disabilities. We go to meet them every week, we organise training sessions and festivities. This encourages us to inject inclusion and disability awareness into all of our other programs. To break down the barriers between children," explained Sabrina Delannoy, Deputy Director of the Paris Saint-Germain Foundation – Children First.
The red carpet for children
While the Foundation works tireless behind the scenes all year round, it also knows how to put on a show and roll out the red carpet to provide the children with some truly great moments.
In May, one of the highlights of the year is Children's Day. For the whole day, thousands of kids are invited to attend the Paris Saint-Germain players' training session in the Parc des Princes.
The annual gala dinner is also a highlight, associating the entire club community (players, partners and managers) with its social and solidarity commitment. It raises record-breaking funds thanks to an auction, the proceeds of which are dedicated exclusively to the development of the Foundation's projects.
And then, every year as Christmas approaches, the final home match of the year becomes "the Foundation's match", where the children become the little Princes of the Parc and experience a unique evening, from the arrival of the players to the warm-up on the edge of the pitch, from the VIP Carré to the meeting with the players... It is also an opportunity to discover the Foundation's connected robot, which allows a sick child to take control and experience the evening and their "telepresence" at each home match.
"This evening was the culmination of our year, in terms of emotions and organisation as well. It is wonderful for the children but also for all those who work all year round at the Foundation, and do so with passion and pride. It was a great moment between the teams, to see these children going home with their heads full of dreams. It makes us even more motivated to go into battle together in 2020," concluded Sabrina Delannoy.