A life worth living is one that is lived outside of the box. That is definitely true for Managing Director, Caroline Dafoe, who has launched the Sports Education Trust, the charitable parent company of the United World Sports Academy which is scheduled to open February 2019 in Tauranga and in other locations within New Zealand.
When you partner a retired physical education teacher and international coach, with a former human resources specialist who is also a single mum of a child with autism, you get a team that is committed to thinking outside of the box for children, education and their journey to achieving greatness.
The United World Sports Academy is a member of the New Zealand Tutoring Association and partners with student-athletes to support them in their academic journey as well as providing them with high performance sports training which will hopefully move them into a national sports programme or enable them to achieve scholarships nationally or internationally. Students aged 12 -18 attend the academy Monday to Friday from 8 am to 5pm and are supported in the academy’s learning centre for their academic requirements by qualified teachers for about 3 to 4-hours per day and they also train and play their sport for 3-4 hours per day supported by industry leaders and qualified professional coaches.
This programme integrates with character development in sports training and students also learn either sports journalism, sports broadcasting or sports management. Caroline’s aim is to have well rounded student-athletes who are prepared to be global citizens, by learning and developing in areas they have passion about in a system that is student focused.
Caroline is a 3rd generation Kiwi, however she was born and raised in Canada as her mother married her Canadian father. She knows first-hand what it means to have an advocate in your life. She has dyslexia and when she failed grade 1 as a child – the school she was attending said she was not welcome to return – her mother stood up for her and said – ”No my daughter is brilliant – you just don’t know how to teach her.” She was right – as she had Carolyn tested and found out she had dyslexia and that she was also three years ahead of her peers. So the intelligence was there – it was just not having an easy way of demonstrating itself. So Caroline had a tutor for a year who taught her how to learn and she went from failing grade 1 to being in the top 10% of her class throughout most of her academic life as a child and adolescent.
Prior to coming back to New Zealand, she worked in a medical office in Canada doing medical aesthetics and medical laser treatments for two years. This was quite a change from her previous role which had been 12 years in Human Resources, during which time she was honoured by the province of Ontario and the Federal Government of Canada for her contributions to the business community. She has also worked in the criminal justice field for two years as a private investigator – but is quick to point out it is not like you see on TV – it’s interesting. but not like Magnum PI or Charlies Angels.
As a mum of a child with high functioning autism and ADHD, Caroline finds herself advocating for him and having to think out of the box on how to make his journey a successful one. This experience has taught Caroline we are all unique, and we are not meant to live a cookie cutter life.
This is her driver behind the launch of the United World Sports Academy, a place to fuel students’ goals and give them the best opportunity to take a podium position in their lives, in their sport and in their education – achieving success that is meaningful and relevant to them. When they win, the family wins, the academy wins, our communities win and New Zealand wins.