A very special sports training session for children with mental disabilities!
On Saturday 11th April 2015, this year's first "Angel for a Day" initiative took place in the Netherlands. It was a very special day for 60 children with mental disabilities, who not only received professional training and an introduction in playing hockey, but also got to watch some of the world's best women hockey players up close as well as meeting them in person.
Sport and exercise are two very important elements in working with people with mental disabilities; group sport in particular is a very special experience. For this reason, Lyoness Netherlands decided to implement this unique initiative together with the Lyoness Child & Family Foundation Association and the Larensche Mixed Hockey Club in Laren. The Larensche Mixed Hockey Club is one of the largest and most prestigious hockey clubs in the Netherlands and some of the world's best women hockey players form part of the club's first team. Naomi van As, for example, participated in the Hockey World Championship in 2006 and in 2007, she won the Women's Hockey Champions Trophy. Joyce Sombroek is the current goalkeeper in the Dutch national team. Both women offered their services for this good cause; leading the children's training session themselves and staying after training to talk to the children and sign autographs.
"It's not winning or losing that counts, but the time that you spend together."
The group of 60 children met at the hockey club's training grounds on a beautiful, sunny afternoon. The group was divided into smaller groups and the children received special training. The focus of the training was running together, passing, encouraging one another, laughing and enjoying the time spent together. One of the children who participated said, "It's not winning or losing that counts, but the time that you spend together." At the end of the training session there was a joint training match in which the international stars also took part to support the children. There was still enough time after the tiring training session for the children to get autographs and to have their photo taken together with the stars. The afternoon was thoroughly enjoyable for all involved, topped off with a break complete with drinks and small, traditional Dutch snacks. All in all, the whole afternoon was a fantastic experience for the children, teenagers and parents, and we would like to thank the Larensche Mixed Hockey Club and the players who took part as well as all the additional helpers for their tremendous support. You really turned the day into a huge celebration and an incredible experience for over 60 wonderful children and teenagers.
The goal of this project was to provide 60 children with mental disabilities with a unique experience, in which they could enjoy taking part in a very special training session with some of the world's best women hockey players. What's more, together with the Larensche Mixed Hockey Club, Lyoness aimed to highlight the importance of sport for children with mental disabilities and to raise awareness for this group of people among Loyalty Merchants, Members and helpers.
Angel for a Day - Netherlands
11th 2015 April
60 children with mental disabilities from Laren's surrounding area, who are looked after by social services.