fbpx NFL player Efe Obada visits London Youth member as part of new ambassadorship - London Youth

01 July 2024

On Friday 28th of June 2024, British Nigerian Washington Commanders defensive end Efe Obada visited Sport at the Heart, a London Youth member club in Willesden, north-west London. The visit marks the beginning of Efe’s relationship with London Youth, as part of our new initiative Born Ambitious

Efe Obada meeting young people who benefit from the club’s activities

London Youth’s mission to support the capital’s youth sector and improve the lives of young people is a cause is close to Efe’s heart. At a young age he was trafficked to the UK from the Netherlands, where his family had moved from Nigeria. His first years in the UK were challenging, as he faced homelessness and had to move between different foster families. He found his way to American football by getting involved with a local initiative where he was mentored and scouted, eventually moving to the US.  

Efe retains strong ties to the UK, the place he calls home, and is passionate about giving back to community organisations working with underserved young people. At London Youth we provide access to around 600 such organisations through our membership, which collectively supports over 650,000 young Londoners every year. For 137 years we’ve sought to champion and strengthen London’s youth sector so young people have the opportunities and skills they need to succeed. We also work with our membership to deliver life-changing programmes – including a range of sports initiatives – to young people, to create unforgettable experiences at our outdoor learning centres, and to make the youth sector’s voice heard by those who can create change.  

Efe talking with young people at Sport at the Heart, one of our member clubs

Sport at the Heart is one of our members, a social inclusion charity that uses sports, physical activity, creative arts, play and wellbeing initiatives to improve the lives of people in its community who need it the most. From small community groups to large youth organisations, our wider London Youth network shares a common goal – to make sure all young Londoners have what they need to succeed. 

Efe playing games with young people during the club’s evening session

We recently launched Born Ambitious; a network of ambassadors designed to inspire young Londoners. Via our website, social media channels and at live events, we platform Londoners of the global majority from a variety of sectors and industries to inspire young Londoners to think big and navigate a fulfilling career.  

We know this is needed because one in four young people surveyed in 2023 (Princes Trust NatWest Youth Index 2023) feel like they are going to fail in life. This was worsened by loss of social interaction and education in the pandemic and deepened by the cost-of-living crisis. Further, young Black African, Black British or Black Caribbean young people are most likely to feel unsupported by their secondary school, and less likely to have received face-to-face careers advice (Youth Employment UK 2023 Census), affecting their confidence in exploring their future aspirations.  

Pauline Daniyan, CEO of London Youth, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Efe Obada as a Born Ambitious ambassador. His support and his story will help young people who might be struggling to navigate their future, or who might not have access to role models they can relate to. And by visiting one of our member clubs, Sport at the Heart, at a time of huge pressure for young people and youth workers across the capital, Efe is also raising awareness of the vital role that community youth organisations play in providing a lifeline and safe space to young Londoners.”  

Read The Guardian’s coverage of Efe’s visit: ‘Youth clubs helped me’: Efe Obada calls for funding for centres for young people and watch this space for some footage from the event, coming soon. 

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