For quadriplegic individuals, quad rugby is an opportunity to play a sport in which wheelchairs are the norm. Three years ago Los Criollos was formed in Uruguay and this past month they brought an international quad rugby tournament to their country for the first time, with support from Fundación A Ganar.
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While Latin America has made remarkable progress in making education accessible for all over the last decade, not many youth are actually graduating high school, and even fewer going on to receive advanced degrees. It is estimated that between now and 2040 nearly 40 percent of the Latin American workforce will lack a high school degree.
Not too long ago, Alex, 7, and Josseline, 6, spent their afternoons working in a field, grazing cows and collecting grass to feed pigs and guinea pigs. One of their most common tasks, as it is for other children in Chordeleg, Azuay, Ecuador, was recollecting toquilla straw. The material is used to create Panamanian hats which are very popular among local workers and tourists.
On June 23, 1972, Title IX was enacted, revolutionizing the world of female athletes. Title IX is an education amendment that ensures that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program.”
Community leaders, residents, government officials and special guests gathered in Morro dos Macacos, Rio de Janeiro, on Saturday to participate in the opening of a new multifunctional sport court dedicated to the local community and its residents. The global project was led by ESPN and community organizations love.fútbol, A Ganar, and INATOS.
“I am not playing with her - she is too small, she can’t run, and doesn’t talk to me!” one EducaFuturo participant shouted. “He only talks to his friends and just because I look different he doesn’t talk to me,” responded another.
Jamie Rocha, Director of Sport Strategy at GlideSlope, served as a mentor during a Partners of the Americas Sport for Community (S4C) program to several Brazilian emerging leaders in the sport for development field. In September 2015 she traveled to Rio de Janeiro through Partners' S4C program to work one on one with emerging leader Gabi Pinheiro and her organization, Luta Pela Paz (Fight for Peace). What follows are some of her reflections from the trip.
The word “miraculous” gets thrown around rather casually in sports, whether it’s for a difficult catch in an NFL end zone, or a dramatic three-point buzzer beater that wins an NBA playoff game. But sometimes real miracles are accomplished through sports, with little fanfare, in out-of-the-way places, and with outsized benefits that should get just as much attention but dont.
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.
When the children of the community of Tiracancha, resting high in the Andes Mountains in Cusco, Peru, received 50 indestructible One World Futbols, they rejoiced at the fact that they will never have to scavenge for another soccer ball again. Games at the school were often cut short when makeshift soccer balls fell flat, and a pump to re-inflate them was a foreign concept.
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.
The Santo Domingo Stars - a baseball team of young men from the Dominican Republic aged 11 to 13 years old - visited Lebanon and Nashville, Tennessee from May 27 to June 1st. While there, the team had the opportunity to play in the Tennessee Baseball Players Association (BPA) tournament.
When Ronald Torreyes was only 14 years old, he set off on a trip he now deems the “opportunity of a lifetime.” It was the first time he left his home country of Venezuela and traveled to the United States, as one of four youth from Venezuela and Nicaragua selected for a U.S. Department of State sports exchange program led by Partners of the Americas.
26-year-old Coach Uses Lessons from Sports-based Exchange in Life and with Team
Vanessa Arauz has blazed a trail of firsts leading up to becoming head coach of Ecuador’s Women’s National Soccer Team.
As a child, she was the only girl on her local soccer teams in Guayaquil, Ecuador. She is the first female soccer coach certified by the Ecuadorian Soccer Federation’s official coaches training center. Now, she leads Ecuador in it’s first-ever Women’s World Cup appearance and, at 26, is the youngest coach to ever head a World Cup team.
It’s not every day you receive an opportunity to speak at the United Nations, but last month, we were two of the lucky few. On Wednesday, April 15, we were invited to represent A Ganar at the United Nations’ “United Action towards Sustainable Development for All Through Sport” celebration in New York.
In front of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, and several diplomats and world class athletes, we shared our life-changing experiences through A Ganar and hopes for the future of sport-for-development.
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.
Every young person deserves the chance to succeed, and empowered with the right tools, they can. Through A Ganar, we equip youth with the skills - communication, teamwork, respect, discipline, continual self-improvement, and a focus on results - to successfully return to school, gain employment, or start their own business. A Ganar makes a tremendous difference in the lives of young people, but it's not just youth that benefit from A Ganar.
While watching a live band perform at one of the many parties at the huge Austin, Texas based South by Southwest (SXSW) Music, Film, Technology, and Interactive Festival, a veteran sportswriter leaned over to me and said, “I’ve interviewed a lot of interesting people and done a lot of cool things, but I’ve always wanted to perform on a stage.” I agreed, being a rock star is one of those childhood dreams that has never gone away. While I may never bring down the house with my vocals, representing Partners of the Americas’ A Ganar program at SXSports was definitely way up on the “cool” list.