Hope Academy – End of an era

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For over 8 years Ambassadors Football South Africa has impacted a great number of juvenile offenders, first in Pollsmoor Prison and later through the Hope Academy program in Drakenstein Prison. Many of the young men we worked with not only successfully rehabilitated and reintegrated into society, but got to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. The transformation of their lives is clearly visible and those young men are leaders, role models and change agents inside the prison and in their communities after their release.

A great example of God’s amazing work through the Hope Academy is the story of “Rooney”:

High-ranking gangster. Sentenced for armed robbery. Imprisoned in Port Elizabeth, but transferred to the program in Drakenstein because of his immense talent for soccer. Muslim.

Chosen, called and convicted by God. Taking the step to wholeheartedly follow Jesus. Great influencer and leader in the prison. Now released and working as a coach in Hanover Park, one of the most gang-ridden communities in Cape Town.

Ambassadors Football South Africa’s ministry in Drakenstein Prison is, without doubt, powerful, valuable work full of potential for God being at work in amazing ways.

Over the last three years God has engaged us in a process of sharpening our specific calling, in general as well as in the prison, and the vision He has for us. A vision to focus on the empowerment of coaches as father figures and disciple makers. This led us to the conviction of handing over the Hope Academy side of the prison ministry to another ministry, with more capacity and the calling to take it to even greater ventures.

After engaging with numerous prison ministries, Drakenstein Correctional Services officials and other role players, as well as praying and relying on God’s guidance, we made the decision to hand the Hope Academy part of the prison work over to “City Mission” (http://www.citymission.org.za).

Most encouraging is that Rooney has joined City Mission and is one of two key staff members who works in the Hope Academy. We are excited about his involvement and look forward to see God using him, Charles Kadali and the rest of City Mission team as they continue impacting the young men in perhaps even greater ways.

We will not completely disengage with the prison but rather focus on our core calling and in doing so develop (ex-) juvenile offenders as coaches, father figures and disciple makers in and outside of Drakenstein Prison. (The detailed plan and implementation will follow in 2018)

We still visited the prison on a weekly basis to ensure a smooth transition and from January we will visit every month until April when we start with the prison specified coaches’ development process in Drakenstein. We are excited to continue seeing young men exit prison, but now even more equipped to impact their communities and give back, as coaches who act as father figures, disciple makers and influencers.