In a week when the world is acknowledging the vital contributions women make to society, we are highlighting two shining lights right here on our own doorstep.
Kasha Petit and Martyna Balawender have been driving forces behind much of the wonderful work the AFC Wimbledon Foundation is doing in the community to help change people’s lives.
Kasha (above) leads our girls’ inclusion programmes which includes free evening dance, football, dodgeball and other multisports. The sessions are aimed at inactive girls to help them see the benefits of taking part in sport.
But that’s not all! Kasha – the Foundation’s Female Development and Inclusion Officer - started online football and fitness sessions so girls could stay fit during lockdown. She also led on black history month, sharing inspirational stories about authors and athletes, and was constantly striving to make all young people feel a sense of belonging so they could better express themselves.
If that wasn’t enough, Kasha – who plays for QPR ladies – also runs our girls-only player development sessions and heads up our online Wednesday workouts to encourage adults back into exercise.
“Kasha’s never scared to give things a go,” said Community Development Manager Fiona Sutherland. “She is constantly coming up with new and exciting ideas so the Foundation can help those living in the most disadvantaged areas.
“She has a real passion for the positive impact sport can have on people’s mental and physical health as well as their overall wellbeing. She’s a real treasure.”
Martyna (above to the right) has also benefitted from Kasha’s mentoring. The pair first met at a satellite Premier League session where Kasha was coaching, Kasha immediately recognised her talent and invited her to become a volunteer coach for the Foundation as she worked through her coaching qualifications. Now Martyna works at all our girls-only sessions as well as our holiday courses.
“Martyna has excelled in confidence and is now a qualified Level 1 coach,” added Kasha. “We are delighted she’s part of the Foundation staff team and will be delivering our free holiday provision for vulnerable children over Easter. We can’t wait to see what that future holds for her - and the next generation she inspires!”