Guided sports and community service activities for youth and children also teach moral values to help counter the destructive drug and gang influence in these marginal communities. The children, parent, and local leaders are glad to see the difference these activities make in their communities.
Volunteer professional soccer players and others help as we outfit and train youth and children with our soccer and sports camps in conjunction with some of our family garden projects. The children make many new friends as they learn teamwork in community clean-up projects and in sports.
Gregorio Cobin, our Manos Hermanas administrator, saw four youth who had been inhaling thinner on the street and invited them to practice with the others. They walked away. Later, a local community leader spoke briefly with them. Two hours later, when the group was going onto the field, the youth asked if they could join the 14 – 18 age group. They did, had a lot of fun, and continue to come to practice. Others have also joined and made the change for a new life through the friendships in the sports camps.
One community was so impressed with the changes they saw in the youth that they cleaned off a large space, and installed lighting and soccer goal posts for the sports camps. Others have donated sports outfits and shoes for the children who did not have anything adequate for running and playing. It takes all of us for it to come together.
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