January 27th, 2012- Coaches Across Continents is preparing to enter a new continent to work with two partner programs in South America. The team will first head to Cali, Colombia to work with an international nonprofit called Colombianitos. This organization works with thousands of children in six areas of Colombia who are victims of armed conflict, forced displacement and who are living in impoverished communities. The organization focuses on motivating these children to complete their educations as well as teaching them strong values and life skills. The organization concentrates its efforts in these highly disadvantaged communities where children deal with adversities daily. Colombianitos uses various sports as platforms to engage the youth and to teach them personal and social values.
The partnership with Colombianitos was developed as a result of both organizations being involved with Beyond Sport. In 2009 at Beyond Sport, Colombianitos was chosen from over 300 applicants as the winner of the first UNICEF International Children’s Rights Award. This award recognized Colombianitos’ Goals for A Better Life program as being an innovative sports-led social initiative.
Nick and Marisa will work with coaches and leaders from the Colombianitos program for ten days starting February 6, 2012. Together they will coach the coaches, working with the group to teach a curriculum focused on conflict resolution, social inclusion and female empowerment.
After working with Colombianitos, Nick and Marisa will travel to Medellin to work with the Club Deportivo Union Cristiano. This club concentrates its efforts in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Medellin, working to provide opportunities for youth to develop their sports skills. The organization aims to provide an alternative environment to the life of violence and poverty that many of the youth in Medellin encounter. Again, Nick and Marisa will train coaches and work with them to leave a curriculum in place that focuses on conflict resolution, female empowerment and social inclusion.
Both organizations realize the potential of soccer to create positive social change in the lives of the youth in their regions.