The excitement is mounting ahead of the Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco. But the ceremony itself isn’t the only show in town. A number of Laureus Academy Members have already gathered in Nice for an event staged by the “Play International” organisation. And for a good cause, the focus is on disadvantaged youths. This project is about bringing people together who are sometimes at the periphery of society whether that’s through disability, race or creed. We’re trying to bring people more to the centre of society, to increase citizenship and to create a more peaceful coexistence. Play International is a very proven model in doing that. The message: Change the Game for Kids – even when the weather declines to play along. This small thing we did was fun, it was involvement. The big one and the small ones were laughing and smiling. I think this is already a win that we can get the smile when we come back into the warm. In the end I forgot that it was snowing outside. We were just laughing like „Hey look what funny thing this kid did…“ We were having a good time and this is important. Especially these days as parents get busier and busier and seem to work more and more. Sport is really important. A lot of kids don’t even have the opportunity to get together and really play and learn the social or physical skills that come with sport. Life has just seemingly become too busy and too connected to electronics. Kids need to play and they need to be kids. For those kids, meeting their idols and the members of the Laureus Academy will be treasured forever. We ambassadors have the responsibility to spread the name of Laureus as much as we can, raise awareness for them and raise also investments for them. Because in the end we are giving kids in the streets an escape from their bad lives. I always say that whatever we do is not enough. We have to continue and do more and more to help these kids. Laureus and Play International – a fruitful partnership set to grow and prosper in the future. Our next goals for Play International are about making sure that the programme here in Nice runs really, really well. We want to make sure that it’s a well-funded programme, we want it to be very solid and we want to have a really great engagement with schools. And then we’d love to see that programme expanding through the region. So more through Provence, Côte d’Azur and the Alps region.