T-HO: The Message of Social Inclusion at Work in Migori County Kenya
CAC volunteer, Mackenzie Jones writes about her two week experience with first year CAC partner, CREATA (Center for the Regeneration and Empowerment of Afria through Africa), in Rapogi, Migori County, Kenya.
A great two weeks with first year CAC partner, CREATA! Over the course of two weeks, the coaches participated in many hours of CAC training, applied their training on the field with their teams and children, and at the finale, graduated into official CAC coaches.
Throughout the first week of training the CREATA coaches did an amazing job learning the games in the early half of the day, and then got great practice by playing them with children in schools in the afternoon. Thursday we introduced the CAC Tim Howard (T-HO) skills along with the Tim Howard curriculum that included games for female empowerment, conflict resolution, fun, etc. This day stood out to me, partly because of my love for goalkeeping (although my expertise is in lacrosse goalkeeping), but mostly because of the inspiring connection between the social messages of the Tim Howard Curriculum and the manifestation of this in the afternoon session where the coaches played with the children. The main message of our day as a part of the Tim Howard curriculum was social inclusion and current USA National Team and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard is the perfect role model for that message.
Through all of his successes in football, Howard has had to overcome many difficulties as well. As a young kid, Howard was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome, but he was not forgotten about because of this diagnoses, at least not in the world of football. His talent was spotted by a coach who took Howard under his wing and helped him develop as a player, regardless of his Tourette’s. The acts of this coach not only helped Howard develop into the player he is today, but have created a platform to show that all coaches can and should include others, especially children, regardless of differences.
After learning the story of Tim Howard, and the games earlier that day, the coaches took these games and the messages directly into their on field work later that afternoon with children from Piny Owacho Primary School in Ragogi. At Piny Owacho Primary, one of the CREATA coaches, Kate, took action when she saw two young boys with disabilities sitting on the side not being included in the games. One of the boys had a mental disability, while the other had a physical disability and was bound to a wheel chair. Together the coaches decided to choose games that would allow these two young boys to play, particularly the boy in the wheel chair. Games like the Tim Howard skills that the coaches learned earlier in the day not only carried the important message of social inclusion, but also allowed the young boy in the wheel chair to actively participate, since these skills are goalkeeping skills and use only your arms.
This was an amazing sight to see, as both CAC Senior Staff, Nora Dooley and I noted following the end of the day. Including others and treating them equally regardless of their differences, that was the message of the day and it transcended the training that the coaches received in the morning and took action directly on the field with the children; now that’s social impact!