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United footballer tops list of ‘role models for young people’ with Obama, Messi and Martin Luther King Jr

In a recent survey conducted by education charity ReachOut, it has been revealed that Marcus Rashford has emerged as the top role model for young people.

The survey encompassed participants aged 8 to 16 who were part of after-school mentoring programs across Greater Manchester, Liverpool, and London.

Marcus Rashford – the role model

A Manchester legend

Among the extensive list of role models, Marcus Rashford’s name stood out prominently, earning the highest number of mentions from the young respondents.

Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

Another well-known Manchester legend ranked pretty highly, too.

Alongside Rashford, fellow football legends Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi secured positions in the top ten, along with prominent figures such as education activist Malala Yousafzai, civil rights icons Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr, social media influencer MrBeast, former US First Lady Michelle Obama, actress Jenna Ortega, and singer Ariana Grande.

The survey findings also shed light on the perception of role models among young people.

Interestingly, over two-thirds (71%) of the participants believed that there were enough positive adult role models to look up to.

Sports Stars and Doctors top role models

When questioned about the sources of good role models, sports stars (65%), doctors and nurses (65%), teachers and school staff (64%), and TV and film stars (58%) were highlighted.

However, only a mere 22% of respondents recognised politicians as good role models.

Additionally, 41% expressed that their local communities provided a conducive environment for positive role models.

ReachOut, a charity celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, pairs adult mentors with young individuals in schools across under-resourced areas of Greater Manchester, Liverpool, and London.

Schools refer young people to ReachOut, enabling them to participate in an annual program encompassing mentoring and group activities.

Weekly sessions focus on building confidence, character development, as well as English and Math support.

Encouragingly, 80% of the surveyed young people attested to having positive role models among their ReachOut adult mentors.

Furthermore, the participants were asked to outline the traits that make someone a positive role model.

Kindness and Compassion

The most frequently mentioned characteristics were kindness, followed by being inspiring, possessing good character, helping others, and achieving success in their chosen field.

One Year 6 student eloquently stated, “Role models are responsible, and they help other people. They encourage other people to be brave and are not scared to show their true self.”

Joy Upchurch, Head of Programmes at ReachOut, expressed her delight at the survey results, stating, “It’s fantastic to see that many of the young people we work with feel that they have positive adult role models they can look up to among our sports stars, healthcare professionals, teachers, and other walks of life.”

Upchurch emphasised the transformative power of mentorship for young individuals, highlighting how the presence of an additional role model in their lives can assist them in navigating the challenges they encounter.

The selection of traits such as kindness and helping others as essential qualities in role models is a testament to the character and values exhibited by the young people supported by ReachOut.

With Marcus Rashford leading the way as a revered figure in the eyes of young people, it is evident that the impact of sports stars, doctors, nurses, teachers, and other notable individuals extends far beyond their respective fields.

Their contributions as role models play a vital role in shaping the aspirations, values, and futures of the younger generation.

We all love you Marcus, keep doing you!

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