Meet our Nordic Fellow Knut Ove Børseth
Knut Ove founded Drive for Life in 2011. Drive for Life engages youth at risk of dropping out of school through an empowering team framework, using adrenaline-filled sports.
His Changemaker journey
As a rally professional at an international level, Knut Ove Børseth had many fans. He early identified that many of them belonged to a vulnerable group of youth at risk of dropping out of school and isolated from society, looking for a sense of belonging. Knut Ove identified with this group and realized that he could use his position and knowledge from earlier experiences to help these youth to make good decisions and steer in a positive direction in life.
Hence, in 2005 Knut Ove realized that the lessons learned over the years could be used to build a solid support system for at-risk youth. He could, for instance, use the predictability, goal orientation and structure he knew from elite sports as the basis for his programs as well as his experiences from starting and working with businesses.
Hence, he started to contact municipalities, schools, parents, local sport clubs, organizations and governmental agencies to learn how they could work in a more holistic, collaborative and positive way with the youth. After struggling to find the first funding to cover a pilot program, they finally came to a breakthrough in 2008 to start the first pilot.
Drive for Life seeks to support troubled youth to get on a more positive track in life in two main ways; through an appealing framework and by fostering empowerment and the youth’s sense of agency.
Knut Ove seeks to shift the general perception of viewing these youth as troublemakers in society, showing their unique leadership potential and willingness to thrive as citizens.
The core of Drive For Life’s work lies in getting children to work in teams, develop leadership skills and enhance their empathy. By using adrenaline-filled sports, branding and role models, Drive for Life manages to catch the attention of the most troubled youths, often seeking a sense of belonging in the “wrong crowds” or in anti-social behavior.
Drive for Life’s methodology is tailored to each participants’ journey and creates new interactions between local sports clubs, schools, parents, child service, businesses and role models, in ways previously missing. Drive for Life effectively shifts the perception of dropouts in a more positive direction, highlighting the youth's potential and willingness to actively be part of and contribute to society.
While the goal is to prevent school dropout and thus the risk for long-term exclusion from society, it goes further to empower the participants by offering ways of continuous involvement beyond the program. Its approach puts the child and her needs and motivation at the center, while bringing together key supporters around each youth.
Drive for Life programs does not only lead to lower dropout rates, safer and satisfied youth, less criminality and unemployment and functioning families and school classes, but most importantly empowers a new generation of youth to take control over their lives.