The voice of streetfootballworld's youth
How sports is used in America for the inclusion of refugees
Adams is a young leader who works at Soccer in the Streets (USA), an organisation that uses football as a unique way of mobilizing and empowering young people. For him, soccer is a way to bring young people from different backgrounds together: “I use soccer to help refugees like me who come to United States from different countries. When they arrive in the United States, they only know one sport – soccer – or maybe two with athletics. Soccer is the number one sport for any foreigner who moves here. However, at Soccer in the Streets, our mission is to empower underserved youth through value-based sports on training, character development, mentoring, and employability programs. As coach, I train their soccer skills but also use it as a tool to keep them away from using drugs or falling into gangs and skipping school. With the help of Shell we started ‘Life Work’, with the objective of impacting the lives of hundreds of teenagers in need of opportunities to achieve success in life.
Through Life Work we get kids to participate in youth leadership, we provide them with guidance and support for them to prepare themselves for employment prospects. We take them to college tours and help them apply to the ones they are interested in. We also do a week of spring break camp every year when they are off from school; we make sure they all spend their free time outside the city where there are reduced crime activities.
I use a unique version of the football3 methodology to make them aware that soccer is not all about competing. It also can impact, change and bring different cultures together and celebrate each other’s uniqueness. This is how I use sports for the inclusion of refugees and to help them achieve their American dream as I also try to live the same dream.”
Adams Adams – Young Leader
Soccer in the Streets, Atlanta (USA)
Football and its unique way of creating Peace in Colombia
Colombia is coming to a new beginning after living through over 50 years of war. We have now the great opportunity of creating a new present and future for the boys and girls that are on the pitch playing football and using it as an awesome tool to make new friends and build a better environment for them.
I have been talking with many kids in my community, asking what peace means to them. Some said it was a difficult word, others that peace means avoiding fights, but the most fantastic answer I got was from a girl who told me that “peace is to smile every time you go to play football, and also to see the other boys and girls smile every time they touch a ball.”
Colombia is known for its passion for football - many organizations, such as Tiempo de Juego Foundation andColombianitos Foundation, have found that this sport is the best tool to create new ways of securing the peace all of us are looking for.
In Colombia we have also established the Gol & Paz network, a team of organizations that are using football as a tool to oppose violence and to facilitate reconciliation. This network recognizes the power of sport to contribute to the historical moment that we are currently living through.
Using the football3 methodology, young people who were once members of guerrilla and other armed groups, and also young people who were victims of the conflict are becoming new mediators, all of them playing on the same pitch, all of them playing and smiling in the same place.
All of this is possible because, in Colombia, we have realized that peace is not about stopping fights with others, it is not just shaking hands and saying everything is ok, it is not about forgetting everything and saying it’s alright. Peace goes beyond that. It creates hope, peace creates friendship, peace is seeing each other’s differences and realizing that being different is not something bad, but that it instead shows that all of us can create a great team with different positions, and that if we work and play as a team we will create a better place for all.
Cristian Rojas Velásquez - Young Leader
Tiempo de Juego Foundation