City striker Callum Wilson returned to President Kennedy school to promote the 'Write to Unite' competition...
Coventry City striker Callum Wilson showed the way for his fellow 'Next 20' ambassadors by returning to President Kennedy School, where he was a former pupil, to promote Kick It Out's 'Write to Unite' creative writing competition.
The 21-year-old, who was joined by Sky Blues team-mate Conor Thomas, spent time helping 50 students from President Kennedy, Parkgate and Whitmore Park primary, to construct entries to the competition which encourages young people from across England to creatively display how football can unite people regardless of their background.
The visit was set up as part of Callum’s role as an ambassador for Kick It Out’s ‘Next 20’ initiative, a key element of the campaign’s ‘Season of Action’ activity, which gives 20 young footballers across the Premier League, Football League and Women’s Super League (WSL) the opportunity to choose how they would like to promote equality and inclusion.
“It has been great coming back to President Kennedy,” said Coventry-born Callum, who was keen to return to his old school. “People from Coventry will sort of look up to me as I’ve grown up locally and come through this school. It’s nice to come back to spread the word to the younger generation about what Kick It Out does.”
Callum and Conor, another local success story who has broken through the club’s academy system into the first team, listened to the entries for ‘Write to Unite’ before taking part in a question and answer session, alongside former Coventry defender Dave Busst, now director of Sky Blues in the Community, with students asking them about their paths into professional football and the work of Kick It Out.
“You don’t realise how much they know,” commented Callum. “They were asking questions and they do know a lot more than people might think. It shows that the campaign is working by helping youngsters to learn more about the issues it deals with as we saw today.”
Conor, a former pupil at Coundon Court School in Coventry, was delighted to be able to join Callum and explained how vital he feels it is for footballers to play their part in supporting the local community.
“I think we’re quite lucky to be in a position where we can come to places like this to help raise awareness,” he said. “I think it’s really important to get out into the community to help educate people on the different issues, such as homophobia, that exist. I’m glad we get to do stuff like this.”
Callum, one of the brightest young prospects in League One having scored 15 goals in 27 appearances so far this season, is joined by star names including Everton loanee Romelu Lukaku, Arsenal’s Carl Jenkinson and England Ladies star Toni Duggan as fellow ‘Next 20’ ambassadors.
“I feel privileged to be a part of the ‘Next 20’,” he said. “I’m getting a better understanding of what goes on within Kick It Out and am helping to raise young people’s awareness of this. Being part of the ‘Next 20’ is a great opportunity for me to share my experiences with others. As any normal person would, I want to fight for Kick It Out.”
Kick It Out’s ‘Write to Unite’ creative writing competition is open to young people aged 7-18. The competition has three age categories, 7-10, 11-14 and 15-18. The deadline for submitting entries is 31 January 2014 at 5pm.