Rebecca Love, Pathy Family Fellowship (PFF) Community Leadership Fellow
Rebecca Love believes in the unifying force of sport and the powerful effects it can have on children, especially young girls. It gives them confidence on and off playing fields.
Ms Love, a kinesiology graduate and sports enthusiast, is now putting those beliefs into action as a PFF Community Leadership Fellow. She proposed working with an international organization in Trinidad and Tobago to create a female-oriented program that links sport and physical activity with HIV and AIDS education.
“Once people are playing sports, it sets up an ideal environment to teach about health education,” says Ms Love. “Specifically, for girls, a positive experience in sport gives them the confidence to make good decisions in other parts of their lives. And in terms of education, without the overpowering influence of boys, girls can ask the questions they want.”
Ms Love is leaving mid-September for San Fernando, Trinidad, where she will spend eight months developing Girls Kick AIDS Out in partnership with the Trinidad and Tobago Alliance for Sport and Physical Activity. She chose Trinidad because it’s a country with an already strong connection to sport, its favourites being cricket, soccer, volleyball and running.
Sports have always played a strong role in Ms Love’s own life. She plays water polo, rows and skis, and has also been active coaching young athletes and working with at-risk youth. At Queen’s, she rowed varsity until an injury prevented her from continuing. She switched to play on the varsity water polo team for the next three years.
The PFF Community Leadership Program, established in 2011, is funded by the Pathy Family Foundation and administered by the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC). It offers Queen’s undergraduate or graduate students up to $30,000 for eight- to 12-month fellowships promoting social change in international locations. The program runs until 2014.