Russell Anderson hopes a new initiative launched by his development school can boost the confidence and self-esteem of children across Aberdeen.
The former Dons captain started the Russell Anderson Development School (RADS) in 2012 and the foundation has been providing football coaching in Granite City primary schools with the aim of improving the health and wellbeing of pupils.
Now a new Young Leaders programme is being launched for primary sevens.
The initiative will be delivered by RADS in partnership with Anderson, Anderson and Brown and will allow pupils the chance to work with coaches during class time with the aim of increasing confidence and self-esteem ahead of making the step-up to secondary school.
Former Reds hero Anderson said: “The thinking behind the Young Leader course is that all the work we do is for Primary One to Primary Seven children and as they get older the programme develops accordingly.
“One of our coaches looked at it and asked is there something else we can offer for the Primary Seven kids as they come to that stage, where they are away to move up to secondary school?
“You’ve got to try to develop other areas, beyond just looking at the health and wellbeing aspect.
“So we’ve formulated a programme and it’s a mentoring programme.
“During the sessions we deliver at schools the young leaders will shadow the coaches and look at the content and what is included in the session and the reasons for that.
“After that the aim is that they will be able to deliver a session to a class of their peers to help build their confidence and self-esteem.
“As you go through life you will be faced with experiences like this so this is to try to develop other areas in their skillset.
“It’s important to try to boost confidence and self esteem because at some point in life we are all faced with a situation where we need to deliver a presentation or speak to a group of people.
“You need to be able to hold that group of people and have the confidence to do that.
“So hopefully the Young Leaders programme can be a good first step in building their confidence.”
Anderson, who is now Formartine United assistant manager, has been pleased with the work carried out by RADS over the last seven years.
But he is keen for the foundation to continue to develop new programmes.
Anderson added: “We’ve been doing this for seven years and you do notice a difference within the schools.
“The health and wellbeing aspect of the quality sessions the pupils receive is noticeable because it counts towards the government targets of providing two hours of quality PE per week.
“However, we think there is more to be done and that’s why we are trying to come up with new initiatives rather than just rest on our laurels.”