Developing Healthy Youth Through Soccer

Year: 2009
Country: El Salvador
Project Status: Funded
Impact Sector: Education
Project Investment: $472.00

Project Launch:

Soccer is an integral part of Salvadoran culture. It is not only a sport but an activity that engages youth, elevates their self esteem, prevents drug and alcohol abuse and delinquency among youth, and promotes the healthy use of free time. Governmental programs aimed at developing youth soccer programs do not reach all Salvadoran youth, especially those of the poorer, more rural communities. El Potrero is a mountainous farming community that does not have organized youth sports programs. However, the community's children (64 in kindergarten to 6th grade) frequently practice the sport at school, at home, and in the fields. Children arrive, mostly barefoot and without any equipment, while the adult teams are practicing, with to enjoy themselves in a safe and healthy environment and perhaps pick up some skills A $474 grant from World Connect’s Kids to Kids program was awarded in 2009 to encourage adult team players to promote soccer practice among the children and serve as mentors and coaches during weekly trainings. School budget cuts left children with a 4 hour school day and the soccer program provided a positive alternative for this lost school time. The project also seems to have spurred collective family interest as entire families now show up for practices and games to cheer on their sons and daughters. Parents are proud of their children and enjoy seeing them develop their athletic skills and participants feel more confident with their progress and with the support of their families.