Dr. Ana Palla-Kane is a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland. Dr. Palla-Kane works with teachers in the development of strategies to make physical activity programs accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Through Partners’ Sport for Community program, she served as mentor to Dr. Priscila Lopes, an emerging leader in Brazil who works at the Federal University of the Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valleys.
Arriving in Diamantina, Brazil, was an adventure. The historic city in the state of Minas Gerais is about four and half hours by car from the state capital of Belo Horizonte. Roads with beautiful views and landscapes took us to the heart of Brazilian history, where a gorgeous June sunset greeted us.
As executive director of the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA), Mark Lucas has met scores of people involved in sports—he’s even met Brazilians. “The Brazilian people are so incredibly friendly and insanely passionate about their soccer, I mean football,” he joked.
Camilla Orlando continues to be an active Emerging Leader of Partners of the Americas’ Sport for Community program (S4C). This summer, the Brazilian returned to the United States to work with Olympic gold medalist and member of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship team Tiffany Roberts.
Multiple disciplines – sports, the arts, STEM, music – have the power to change lives, particularly the lives of under-resourced youth. Because many sports are so familiar to children and families, however, they provide an especially easy draw. Once engaged, research demonstrates – over and over – that sports can positively impact cooperation, self-confidence, perseverance, and several additional non-cognitive skills; as well as physical attributes such as stamina, optimal body weight, and general health and fitness. This combination of mental/emotional/social/physical strength can be transferred to other life situations including school, work, civic engagement, and self-efficacy – all of which can ultimately contribute to personal empowerment and social impact.
A Ganar (Vencer in Brazil) is a youth workforce development program wrapped up in a soccer ball. By utilizing soccer and other team sports to help youth in Latin America, ages 16-24, find jobs, learn entrepreneurial skills, or re-enter the formal education system, A Ganar combats the serious problem of youth unemployment.
Here, Paul Teeple, Partners' Sport for Development Director, answers a few important questions about A Ganar and its innovative approach. Read on!