Youngsters from Middlesbrough FC’s academy have recently gone above and beyond to play their part in helping the Turkey and Syria Earthquake appeal.
In February, a devastating earthquake hit both countries, with up to 55,000 people losing their lives, and millions being forced to relocate or made homeless.
In the weeks following the tragedy, chairman at Central Masjid Mosque in Middlesbrough, Gohar Ihsan, set up an appeal for supplies to be sent over to the two affected countries in a bid to help those in need. The launch of the appeal has proved a huge success, with thousands of bags, parcels and boxes having been donated.
The appeal was then given another boost when a group of Middlesbrough FC academy players took it upon themselves to get involved. Around 50 shoeboxes full of essentials and supplies were donated by the Boro youngsters.
Barry Dawson, Head of Education & Welfare at the academy said: “We watch a lot of news and always talk to the boys about it, so they have an understanding of the world rather than just football. They told me ‘If it was me, I’d want people around the world to help us out’ so they decided to launch their own shoe box appeal.
“They all went home to their mums and dads and asked for things to fill the shoeboxes or went out and bought things especially. I think in total we took about 50 boxes, and half a dozen bags full of essentials down to the mosque in Middlesbrough.”
Barry, alongside club psychologist Tom Short and a group of academy players visited Central Masjid Mosque to drop off their shoeboxes where they met Gohar Ihsan, who spoke very highly of Middlesbrough’s involvement in the appeal.
Gohar said: “It was a pleasant surprise when we got a call from Boro’s academy. It was great for them to come over and deliver those because that message goes out into the community that they’re supporting the programme. It’s good for them too because if they do get into the first team in the future, they can be role models in their communities.
“Hopefully they can influence other youngsters to think alike and think about others just beyond what we see in front of us.”
Barry added: “I’m immensely proud of them all and at the club we nurture them into being role models. We teach them three core values of humility, respect, and honesty and that’s whether they’re out on the pitch, in the classroom or in their local communities as a lot of them are all local lads.
“We were keen in taking them down to the mosque so they could donate the supplies themselves and a couple of them wrote nice messages on the box as well which I think speaks volumes of them as kids. We’re trying to create good, honest people and not just footballers who can go out into the world and be positive members of the community, the lads suggested the idea for this appeal, and we’ve just supported them as much as we could.”