Nov 20th, 2012: For the second week of the two -week program, Coaches Across Continents (CAC) worked alongside Slum Soccer in an initiative to train future soccer coaches and social leaders of the Nagpur community. In their first week, the senior coaches (local coaches involved in the CAC 2011 program) proved their coaching abilities while conducting a Rotary Soccer camp for kids of various ages. They carried this added confidence with them into the following week where they were joined by 23 new local coaches.
Working at the Slum Soccer “Center” the CAC team (Gina Wideroff, Brian Suskiewicz, and Jaren LaGreca) led both the senior coaches and new coaches through a curriculum focusing on local community needs including: general health and wellness, problem solving skills, female empowerment, HIV/AIDs prevention, and balanced nutrition. The second week provided an opportunity for the new coaches to learn the CAC curriculum while the senior coachesnot only reviewed the material, but also had their hand in training this next generation of new coaches. This was a particularly exciting and promising week in terms of the sustainability of the CAC implemented curriculum and the Slum Soccer organization.
Throughout the week CAC and Slum Soccer also had the chance to work intimately in the surrounding Nagpur community. A training session was held at the local Koradi community where there was an enthusiastic and large turnout of boys but even more so, girls. It was promising to see that Slum Soccer had already reached out to young girls in this community. Training sessions were also held at two local orphanages, the Living Hope Center for Rescued Children and Grace Ministries. Soccer was a completely new sport to many of these kids; nonetheless, their eyes lit up at the sight of a soccer ball and the cheers of “Boom-shaka-laka.”
The week also coincided with the Hindu celebration of Diwali, The Festival of Lights. The CAC coaches were treated and surprised by the enthusiasm for this event as firecrackers lit up the night sky and shook the walls of the guesthouse.
Without a doubt, the two-week program in Nagpur was a success. The Slum Soccer organization demonstrated their appreciation for using soccer for social development; the coaches embraced the social messages within the CAC curriculum and were eager to demonstrate their abilities, as well as pass on their knowledge to future Slum Soccer coaches. CAC is looking forward to seeing the strides Slum Soccer makes in their organization and their community with a return trip in 2013.