#fightersKF Through sport to a better future

16 March 2021 · 7 minutes reading

Dmytro Kryzhanivskyi, Project Manager, on 7 years of work at the Foundation, the importance of sports in everyone's life, and meeting Elon Musk

Every successful project involves hard work by the manager, a long period of brainstorming and planning, researching issues, and finding new methods and formats of education. But the truly transformative projects are those in which the manager invests not only his or her professionalism but also his or her heart and soul. 

What are fund managers like outside of work? How did they start their career and what are their plans for the future? Why do they work for the foundation and what drives them to fight for the dreams of young people? All these questions are answered in a series of interviews with the #fightersKF team.

How did your story with the foundation begin?

In 2014, I was studying psychology at Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University and learned about the opportunity to do an internship at the foundation as a mentor on the School of Success project. At that time, each team of teenagers had a psychologist-mentor on the project. Other mentors and I conducted reflections for the participants, organized games and team building activities, helped them cope with challenges and adapt to the new environment. Interestingly, I was a psychologist in the team that included Sofia Tarasyuk, who is now the foundation's communications assistant. After mentoring, I was offered to stay with the foundation, and for 7 years now I have been implementing projects for young people and everyone who helps them develop.

Tell us about the projects you're working on. 

Over the 7 years of my work at the foundation, I have implemented many projects, including the Team of Success, a project in which we helped young sports teams that do not have the opportunity to go to competitions to participate in international tournaments, the Klitschko Tournament, an international boxing tournament for young people; "Call Your Friends - Let's Play Together," a competition among secondary schools to install a sports ground; "Start to Success," a program to reconstruct and repair children's and youth sports schools and colleges throughout Ukraine.

Now I am implementing the Parcel of Success, a project for physical education teachers. Initially, we sent parcels of equipment to schools on a competitive basis, but over the years we noticed that it was not enough to provide only tools for sports. In 2018, we transformed the project and added an educational part. Teachers began to receive not only new equipment, but also motivation and knowledge. I constantly communicate with the participants and always get their feedback on the project. They thank us not only for the lectures from experts, but also for the fact that we supported them and showed them that they are not "some kind of physical education teachers" but real superheroes, role models for young people. We believe that this is even more important for teachers than getting balls and jump ropes. Charged with motivation and self-confidence, they become change-makers in their communities - implementing initiatives in schools, cities, and villages, participating in new educational projects, and inspiring others to develop themselves. 

Why are these projects important for society?

I believe that a modern person should have a balance in everything. That is, it's great to study and engage in self-development, but an even better result can be achieved if you support it with sports. Sport gives motivation and perseverance, develops discipline, focus and attention. Therefore, the healthier and more active we are, the more success we will have in other areas of life, and this will contribute to the development of the country. 

What do you like most about your job? 

Most of all, I like to see the results of the project I work on every day throughout the year. You spend a lot of time preparing the program, trying to make it as useful as possible, worrying about how the participants will perceive the topics and formats of the project. And when you give balls to students and teachers or introduce a cool speaker to the participants, you see their eyes light up. It shows that all our efforts were not in vain. My team and I also traveled to all the tournaments, set up the playgrounds, and handed over the parcels. I saw how enthusiastic the children were about using the new equipment, how cool it was to play unusual, exciting games, how much fun they had with a teacher who was enjoying his work. This motivates us to improve the project even more.

What character trait helps you the most in your work?

The thing that helps me the most in my work is that I try never to panic and fight for opportunities to the last. From the outside, it seems that everything in projects is so clearly planned and thought out. However, only the project manager knows how much could have gone wrong and what efforts were made to put everything on the right track. I believe that there is a way out of any situation.

How do you relax?

I am absolutely in favor of active recreation. In the summer, my friends and I go cycling all the time, and we love water sports - sap and wake boarding, kayaking, and in the winter, skiing and snowboarding. On weekends, I play soccer - I used to play professionally, so I continue to train so that I don't lose my skills.


Who would you like to have coffee with?

With Elon Musk. I am inspired by how many new ideas he implements and how he changes the world.

What advice would you give to your teenage self? 

I would advise myself to study and work harder, to develop my skills.

What superpower would you like to have? 

To travel through time. Most of all, I would like to go to the future and see what will change and what new technologies will appear.

What are your dreams? 

I would like to open my own football school for children, to show them how much sport and an active lifestyle can change their lives.

What is your favorite place in Kyiv?

I like Andriyivskyi Descent. There is an artists' alley there, and I like to walk around and look at the paintings. The architecture there is also beautiful.

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