By Tarek Hussein, CEO of Team Success and Global Changemaker, Denmark
Five years ago all six of us was sitting in a small apartment in our city, Vejle Denmark. We were having a huge discussion revolving the gang conflict that was moving into our city and capturing the entire attention of the Danish public. We were simply so frustrated at the lack of alternative to these gangs. That day the first pillars were created to the organization known today as Team Success.
Two years later Team Success was a reality. Founded February 4, 2008, Team Success is an association who works with youth between 15 to 25 years of age. The objective is to encourage the members to attain a dream, and the team’s responsibility is to provide the necessary support in order to experience success with the hopes of accomplishing their goal. Our purpose is to put forth a leadership that is committed to the fostering of healthy young identities that will benefit the society they live in with the result of also gaining a higher quality of life. Team Success places a very strong focus on academic tutoring in order to assist the members with their schoolwork. This is to equip them with the necessary tools and capabilities of higher learning as they go through their middle and high school years. Through the focus on motivation, the goal is to create an appetite for learning. The outcome is the development of the participants into prominent leaders. Furthermore, the establishment of a forum for education that will guide participants’ energies in a constructive direction for action-oriented strategies.
The beginning of the project was very difficult and harsh while the new approach to the youth was not that accepted in our local community. At the same time we did not have any economical resources to use so we had to put in our own money to start the project. After a year of work the Ministry of Integration in Denmark put in 100.000 $ dollars for two years, which is a pretty symbolic amount, taken into consideration the amounts that is normally used on projects in Denmark. Furthermore there have been a lot of projects in Denmark through out the last 10 years that was aimed on youngster with another ethnic background that Danish. These projects goes through the exact same procedure; a group of people from outside the local area bring in a finished project that seems very easy to implement. But after to years they run of money and the project is not sustainable therefor it dies out slowly.
So we had a lot of focus on the idea of creating an organization that could be sustainable on the long term and at the same time innovative compared to the traditional projects. In Denmark voluntary work is a natural part of the society but on the other hand it is not specially shrouded by professionalism because it is viewed as a “soft” topic. We wanted to show the exact opposite!
As a direct result of that approach our organization was build with business companies as an inspiration. We have six different departments; IT, Secretariat, Economy, Health, Video and Personal Development. Each department has its director, deputy ad employees. But do not forget that it is all on voluntary basis. But in this way we show the youngster that we take them very serious and give them the opportunity to advance through our organization. The professionalism in our organization is also seen in our premises that look more like business offices rather than a “youth club”. F.ex you will not find Playstation, ping-pong or other games in our offices. Instead the walls are filled with inspirational quotes and books.
We have different activities but they can be summed up to Tutorship and Personal Develepmont. We place a very strong focus on academic tutoring in order to assist the members with their schoolwork. This is to equip them with the necessary tools and capabilities of higher learning as they go through their middle and high school years. Through the focus on motivation, the goal is to create an appetite for learning. Furthermore we concentrate on assisting members to identify and understand their weaknesses and strengths. At the same time, providing methods for improvement and personal progression. Some of the areas we emphasize are: verbal and non-verbal communication, personal management, behaviour, personal goals, social rules and guidelines, and project based learning.
If you look at the particular results we have made a status rapport that showed how all our members in elementary school went from 5,1 in grade to 8,0 in two years (the grade scale in Denmark goes from -03 to 12). The rapport also showed that two years ago 40 percent of our members had a job, that number is now 83 percent. I could also mention half a dozen of stories that shows how some of our members went from the streets and criminality to studying medicine, law etc.
Two years after we were established back in 2009 our work was officially recognized as we won the unique price of Integration by Her Royal Highness, the Queen of Denmark. Afterward we have had many prominent visitors here among different ministers, the American Ambassador etc.
We started out with six persons three years ago. Right know we have about 150 members with all different kinds of background (Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Denmark, Lebanon, Kurdistan, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Somalia and Turkey). Beside that we have in a way or another changed the whole culture in our local community, so it has becomed “cool” to study and do good in school. The gangs has also been pushed out the city while nobody find it attractive to be a part of a criminal group anymore. We have simply created a real alternative to the gangs and at the same time made our members potential leaders for the future to come.
We have just released a book that explains the background and method of our organization and how it can be implemented in other cities around the country. The project has been such a huge success that the prime minister of Denmark chose to pay us a visit (August 16, 2011) to see the project and the results in his own eyes. After a few meetings, three different Ministries in Denmark has chosen to cooperate and help us to extend the project to the rest of Denmark. So for now we have begun to enlarge the project to the six biggest cities in Denmark with a budget of one million dollars.
I hope that our story can contribute somewhere else and create the believe that it is possible to change your local community or even country if you are persistent.
To learn more about Team Success please visit www.Team-Succes.dk or contact me via Facebook or e-mail: TH@Team-Succes.dk.
”A gram of action weighs more than a ton of talk”