• a month of growth

    October 11, 2018. Community Impact Coach Rose Elias recaps her travels throughout Amman, Jordan and throughout Georgia in the cities of Gori, Ambrolauri, Tsageri, and Zugdidi alongside Coaches Across Continents in partnership with Reclaim Childhood, and the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture.

    So about last September with CAC….

    It finally came true! My month with CAC had started. Our first destination was Amman – Jordan. Our program in Jordan was interactive and fun. There, I met some very inspiring coaches and leaders in sports and sports for social impact. Through our partner Reclaim Childhood I had the chance to talk to some incredible women that decided to just go for it despite social pressures or gender roles. Also, amazing coaches from the southern Jordan with good hearts and generous souls. It felt good to be in Jordan because as an Arab I had the chance to experience another Arab culture; it was similar, different and interesting.

    Our second destination was Georgia, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture. We had a big program in Georgia covering 4 different areas Gori, Ambrolauri, Tsageri and Zugdidi. It was overwhelming seeing Tbilisi another time, just because it is one of those cities you feel happy going back to. As we were moving from one location to the other we had to travel sometimes up to 3-4 hours by car. Never ending beauty through mountains and valleys, crossing rivers, experiencing Georgian hospitality as we stayed with two very warm families in Ambrolauri and Tsageri that made us feel like home. As high as the experience was, we also had to face big challenges during our sessions. I felt how hard it is for Women to achieve something different, social pressure is strong, it feels like it is hard for the younger generation. A lot of their needs are neglected because of social conformity and the rough nature of their lifestyles. It was not easy to observe and not feel some pain during this trip. On the other hand the Georgian culture is very rich and people have such strong connections with their neighbors, insanely generous and they are very happily living their clean, organic and literally fruitful lives. We tasted some top notch home-made wine, liqueur and an abundance of authentic Georgian cuisine. 

    Life has been very generous with me, it offered me this CAC trip. I could feel my person growing every single day. I learned a lot as a sports for social impact coach, I experienced two amazing cultures, Markus, Jesse, Toko and I were each other’s family, we cared and looked after one another. These moments will forever stay in my heart. My friends back home are telling me that my face is glowing! The secret behind this radiance is an unforgettable CAC trip that fertilized my inner-growth and showed me how powerful our work is. I can’t wait for what is coming. 

     დიდი მადლობა (Didi madloba)

     (Shukran) شكرا   

      Thank you 

  • GEORGIA Rose

    October 4, 2018. Community Impact Coach Rose writes about her experience working On-Field with Coaches Across Continents for the first time in Georgia with Community Partner, Ministry of Sport and Culture alongside SDL Educator Markus Bensch. 

    As we arrived  last Saturday  to Tbilisi my heart warmed up with nostalgia of very special memories from my trip last year. A day later we arrive to Gori, Stalin’s hometown, known for its tasty apples. I didn’t know what to expect on our first day. We had a large group of school teachers and sports coaches of different diciplines.

    This experience was very special because of so many different reasons.  It was the first time I train people that come from a completely different culture and speak a language I can’t understand. Also, it was interesting to have a variety of age groups. I can’t deny that I felt challenged the first day because most of the participants had a lot of pride to their physical abilities and achievements throughout the years. Our mission was to introduce them to a new perspective, where they can use sports for social impact and personal growth. As the days passed we overcame many challenges and we played fun inclusive games.

    One very special person I will always remember is Luda, a 10 year old girl, usually she spends a good amount of her time playing with the boys around the neighborhood. Luda watched us play for 2 days and on the third day she couldn’t help herself from joining, so she just stood with everyone, grabbed a bib and considered herself a participant in the program. I will always remember her everlasting smile and eager eyes observing the field and waiting for the ball to come her way. Luda is a gifted soul!

    CIC Rose, on her experience during her last week on-field with Coaches Across Continents in Zugdidi, Georgia. 

    This was our last program in Georgia. I can say that our 3 days went very well. Around 45 coaches and teachers from different disciplines actively participating. I loved that we had vocal female coaches and relatively younger participants leading change in their communities. We were able to have a lot fun and discuss very important social problems and challenges in Zugdidi like alcohol and drug abuse, gender equity, healthy lifestyles and we had many Q&A talks about Child Rights alongside our Child Protection Training. Our incredible coaches were very engaged in the conversations, and everyone was sharing their ideas and solutions.

    One moment I will remember for a while, when around 4 coaches were discussing “what is the best alcohol and drugs awareness approach for Children?” Seeing the conversation happen, 4 different points of views, 4 different ways, different opinions, etc… the CAC team created this safe space for them to freely discuss and share their ideas! Serving a higher purpose in life drives and shapes the person I dream of becoming.

    It was simply beautiful, empowering and felt like a big success being in Zugdidi.

    Didi Madbloba Zugdidi (Thank you so Much Zugdidi)!

     

  • PEACE DAY 2018

    International Peace Day has proved itself one of the most impactful days of the year. Since it’s foundation, Peace One Day helps lead the world in honoring and celebrating September 21st as a day of Global Cease-Fire and Peace. As a long time partner of POD, Coaches Across Continents contributes to this celebration with strategy consultations, social media exposure, and free activity & game resource packets to our global network. This global impact reaches over 100 countries!

    With the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to rally behind, Peace One Day highlights Goal #17: Partnerships for the Goals. In the spirit of #17, those in the CAC network have helped us translate our free Game Packet into 9 different languages! This opens doors for more and more organizations and people to celebrate the day. 

    Today and over the next week, Coaches Across Continents’ partners will celebrate Peace Day with a wide range of activities. One example is in Mindinao, Philippines, where our partner, Gawad Kalinga, hosts games and activities for the children on both sides of the ongoing conflict between soldiers and rebels. Another is a South Sudanese refugee camp that will hold a tournament. There will be dancing in the DRC, Parades in Liberia, Festivals in Indonesia and CAC games being played in 100+ countries around the globe. 

    Coaches Across Continents is the global leader in Creating Legacies.  Our efforts on projects and programming such as this one have been recognized with 25 major global awards, including this year’s Beyond Sport Global Impact of the Year Award.

    To get your own CAC Game packet, just follow the link with your language! And for any questions, pictures, videos or stories, please contact so that we can help promote your inspirational work!

    English Packet 

    Spanish Packet

    French Packet

    Armenian Packet

    Arabic Packet

    Filipino Packet

    Portuguese Packet

    Hindi Packet

    Punjabi Packet

  • And so it begins…

    September 19th, 2018. Global Citizen Jesse DiLuzio writes about his first country on-field with Coaches Across Continents with Community Partner Reclaim Childhood in Jordan.

    My work with CAC began in Amman, Jordan where I was fortunate enough to work with coaches from a diverse group of countries that included Jordan, Somalia, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria! As part of this process, CAC partnered with a local non-profit called Reclaim Childhood, an organization that works to empower refugee and at-risk women and girls in Jordan through sport and play. This partnership proved to be a fruitful one, and myself, Markus (full-time CAC Coach), and Rose (Community Impact Coach from Lebanon) were very fortunate to work with an incredible group of motivated coaches.

    Over the course of the week, we discussed a number of issues with a focus on rights for refugees and women in society. During these discussions, it became increasingly clear that many of the coaches in front of us were already great leaders in their communities. Haneen Khateeb, a female coach from Amman is one of these examples. Just last year, Haneen broke a world record through her participation in the highest-elevation soccer match ever played. At the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Haneen along with 29 other players representing 22 different countries played the 90 minute match 5,985 meters above sea level. As extraordinary as this feat was both physically and mentally, it is even more incredible when you consider the social impact of her actions. While the women’s football scene in Jordan has been much improved under the leadership of HRH Prince Ali, the role of women in sports has been a controversial topic across the region, where in some places, women are banned from participating in sports altogether. Haneen’s efforts served as an inspiration for thousands of women looking to overcome their obstacles and pursue their dreams.

    Other coaches that we trained also told us about the amazing efforts that they have put forth in order to provide a positive environment for other underserved groups. Muhammad (Yasin) and Paul, two friends from Amman, have effectively created a space in their homes for over one hundred refugees to discuss, challenge, and collectively overcome the many obstacles they face coming from corrupt, war-torn states such as Syria. Not to mention the incredible women who work with Reclaim Childhood throughout the year constantly recruiting underprivileged girls across Jordan to learn and play soccer in a space free from social pressure.  

    While I entered the week eager and enthusiastic to provide and teach all of the things I have learned in 18 years as a soccer player/coach, I found myself doing quite the opposite. There’s a saying in Jordan that “whenever you are full, you can still eat forty more tidbits of food”. While I was always too full to test its validity during meals, I think this spirit was certainly embodied by the coaches that we worked with this week. Despite the fact that all of them had already accomplished incredible things in their communities, none of them were full. They always wanted to learn more, and their enthusiasm was unwavering. I became the listener, the learner, the “trainee”, as the coaches took the games/discussions that we led and took them to new heights. It was a humbling experience, one that put a lot of my previous assumptions about coaching into doubt. 

    Off the field, the experience was quite wonderful as well! The locals in Amman are very hospitable and have warm hearts. They will feed you till you can’t move, talk to you until days end, and are always down for a coffee or two. Must haves for me are Shawarma from Saj’s, Falafel from Chammad’s?, Frike, Labaneh, and Mansaf from anywhere. Petra beer is pretty good as well. 

    It was truly an amazing first week with Coaches Across Continents and I look forward to more travels with the organization!

    Until next time,

    Jesse DiLuzio
  • Conversations. Policies. Community.

    August 22nd, 2018. Read about our On-Field program in Unguja, Zanzibar where Coaches Across Continents Founder, Nick Gates, works with an incredible team of our CAC Network with local community leaders on major relevant social issues. 

    Zanzibar – a name which conjures up diverse images; traditional, historic, poetic, evolutionary. The white sails of dhows by moonlight, the ancient wooden doors of Stone Town, the historical evidence everywhere of cultures merged in the creation of a vibrant community. The traditions of the past predominate but, as was proven, there is willingness to consider locally identified alternatives for the future.

    Unguja, the largest of the islands of Zanzibar, was the venue of CAC’s recent programme. Hosted in the national stadium, CAC’s founder Nick Gates was joined by Community Impact Coaches Nico and Fatma, Michael Johnson Young Leader, Khalid, and supported by board members, Bill Gates and Dr. Judith Gates for a five day programme which became noted for candour in openly address challenging social issues.

    This was CAC’s seventh visit to Unguja. Mutual trust has clearly been established over the preceding years. Following a warm welcome from local dignitaries, CAC suggested topics for consideration, topics which had previously emerged as being most relevant for the community. The planned focus was on Child Rights and Child Protection, Women’s Rights, Health and Skills for Life, with time set aside for reflection and consideration of a National Curriculum. On field curriculum activities, designed to raise awareness, were followed by classroom activities in which local policies for change were created.

    Child Protection was hotly discussed. Sexual abuse emerged as a country wide problem. Possible solutions each presented challenges. Fear of reprisal for those who reported abuse, plus concern about being the focus of community disapproval, compounded the situation. Following extensive discussion, coaches and teachers signed to indicate their commitment to being part of the solution. They agreed to play CAC Child Rights games, to ask questions and listen to children, to create safe spaces, to be a good role model and to NEVER abuse a child. Several group members plan to take what they had learned to create a Child Protection Policy in their local workplace. The message is spreading.

    Women’s Rights was another hotly discussed topic. Male dominance was readily acknowledged as being embedded within the culture, based upon religious and historical norms. Some progress is underway in  changing the traditional roles of women. The need for women to develop a ‘confident voice’ was seen as paramount. What was obvious was that women were less outspoken when men were present, both on the field and in the classroom. Their newly created Womens’ Rights Policy highlighted the need for changing attitudes towards girls’ education, accompanied by increasing educational knowledge. Women’s health was highlighted as being of paramount importance, with reproductive health factors, including contraception and family planning, seen as key.

    Throughout the week CAC met with and offered support to local organisations working on the same social issues. For example, the CAC curriculum on HIV/AIDS awareness was shared with a local programme coordinator. In the face of such a productive, although provocative, week’s programme, it was gratifying that CAC was asked to come back for a further three years.

    Let the conversation continue. Let the policies be implemented. Let the community benefit!

     

  • Not About the Ball

    August 21st, 2018. Community Impact Coach, Robelyn Villas, writes about the experience of working with Coaches Across Continents On-Field in the Philippines with CAC Community Partner, Gawad Kalinga, after the already exciting adventure of the FIFA Football for Hope Festival in Russia this Summer of 2018 in partnership with the World Cup! 

    To have another journey after becoming part of the Philippine delegation for Russia (FIFA Football For Hope Festival) was unanticipated until Coaches Across Continents selected me to be part of their training seminar, both as a participant and a facilitator.

    It was on July 28 when my colleague Coach John Paul and I, Coach Robelyn Villas, joined CAC Coaches Charlie and volunteer coach, Patty, in Giussepe F.C. – Campo, Cebu to be one of their participants. It was a two-day affair and we immediately jumped into their football drills and sessions. Among the sessions that we participated in were the Children’s Packet drill which promotes intercultural cooperation.

    The drills in Cebu that I participated in were also a chance for us to share and learn in teaching football as a social development platform, also as a tool to engage individuals in social issues arising from their localities and help them understand how to approach those issues.

    After the weekend seminar in Cebu City (July 28-29), we headed to Sagay City in Negros Occidental to join Coach Charlie and CAC as team-members in their 5-day seminar titled: “COACHES ACROSS CONTINENTS – Global Leaders in Sports for Social Impact.” For almost a  week (July 30-August 3), JP and I, led activities for the participants who were teachers, government employees and humanitarian volunteers from Gawad Kalinga’s SipaG Football Club.

    The activity that captivated me the most was a HIV and Sexual Health drill. The aim is to spread sexual health awareness among the participants since the growth rate in the Philippines for HIV is very alarming. The continuous widespread of HIV in our country should be taken seriously.

    It’s not just the drills and activities that inspired me so much during the CAC seminar, but also the wonderful city of Sagay, Negros Occidental wherein CAC held it’s event. The calm and pleasant ambience of the city is relaxing and so comfortable that it made you want to live there.

    Besides experiencing the tranquil ambience in Sagay, we were also able to witness one AFC (Asian Football Confederation) match in Bacolod City. The match was between top football clubs from their respective leagues, Ceres-Negros FC of the Philippines and Home United of Singapore. It was great to witness this kind of match among the top clubs in Southeast Asia, especially seeing it personally. The match ended with a draw (1-1).

    Overall, Coaches Across Continents helped me enhance my skills as a coach and I was able to have a fantastic opportunity to participate and facilitate drills that tackle social awareness and development. The 7 day seminar also guided me to become a more responsible coach and mentor. Teaching football shouldn’t only be about kicking the ball, but also instilling social responsibilities for us to be the catalyst of positive social change through Education Outside the Classroom.