Not content with being champions on the pitch, Forge FC are also committed to being champions off the pitch when it comes to tackling important societal issues.
On Monday, Forge announced it is joining the “Be More Than A Bystander” program in order to help raise awareness about the problem of domestic violence and violence against women.
As part of the program, Forge is partnering with Interval House, which is Canada’s first centre for women survivors of domestic violence and their children. Founded in 1973, Interval House helps women and children leave abuse behind and start new lives, free of violence. Interval House of Hamilton opened its doors in 1986, and its emergency shelter serves women, 16 years and older, with or without children who have experienced abuse, violence or human trafficking.
By getting involved in the “Be More Than A Bystander” program, Forge hopes to educate youth about the impact of gender-based violence, while also raising awareness of healthy and unhealthy youth relationships.
The program will feature Forge FC players Kyle Bekker, Chris Nanco and Johnny Grant participating in a number of initiatives, including public service announcements and educational videos, and hosting a series of online virtual interactive Webinars focused largely on challenging toxic masculinity within sports.
The players will also be involved in a social media awareness campaign through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Once health and safety regulations are lifted that will allow youth soccer to resume safely, Forge players will meet with youth soccer teams and teach them about recognizing gender-based violence.
“Organized sports is a cultural influencer and can work to end gender-based violence by providing a space for athletes to mentor our community youth and give the tools they need to make change,” said Matt Afinec, President and Chief Operating Officer of Forge FC.
“Having those transformational conversations with our youth sets the stage for healthy engagement and mentorship. …We understand the impact our players, coaches and staff have as role models in our community.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Nancy Smith, Executive Director of Interval House of Hamilton.
“We are honoured to have Forge FC as a partner with our “Be More Than A Bystander” program… We recognize sport is an important cultural influencer. Having the opportunity to expand our community engagement plan by partnering with Forge FC plays a huge role in achieving our vision by including sports celebrities to ending gender-based violence.”
For more information on the “Be More Than A Bystander” program, visit the Interval House of Hamilton website by CLICKING HERE. You can also follow them on Twitter.