Change your habits | Sanitas magazine

“The fun factor is essential!”

Alejandro Iglesias

Alejandro Iglesias, 23, really had to pull himself together. He had a phase where he just couldn’t be bothered. Working for a youth group helped him break his old habits.

Text: Ruth Jahn
Image: Sven Germann

As a teenager I was part of a group that smoked and drank a lot, left rubbish wherever we went and sometimes vandalised property. Then I got involved with the MidnightSports project run by IdéeSport. My friends and I went there to play volleyball. We finally found somewhere we were accepted. Usually young people in groups are seen as a disruptive element and chased away.

MidnightSports in Ittigen basically got me off the streets. Everything clicked into place for me when I was made junior coach for the project at the age of 14. At first I just wanted to earn a bit of extra pocket money. But suddenly I was seen as a role model for the other kids. I was supposed to – and wanted to – help other young people my age. To fulfil this role properly I really had to pull myself together.

My “transformation” was only possible because I enjoyed what I was doing right from the start and had fun with the other coaches and project leaders. When my work as a ventilation system engineer allows, I still volunteer with IdéeSport as a senior coach.

Most recently, a friend and I rolled out EverFresh, a smoking prevention programme with a number of different projects. Some 500 young people took part. It was fun and didn’t point the finger at anyone. If you’re going to change your life for good, you have to have fun doing it.

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The national foundation IdéeSport runs projects to open up sports halls and other venues for children and young people. At MidnightSports events, young people are made aware of the dangers of addictive substances by their peers. The Sanitas Krankenversicherung foundation supports IdéeSport, particularly its innovative EverFresh smoking prevention project.