• Clouds and Humans

    August 3rd, 2017. Self-Directed Learning Educator, Ashlyn Hardie, reflects on week in Vancouver, B.C. working with partners Hope and Health

    In my mind, the best thing about humans is that they are all different. Unfortunately, in my mind, the worst thing about the world is that it makes being different something to be punishable by ridicule, physical abuse, public shaming, inequality, ect. But why? If everything were beautiful, nothing would be. If everyone were smart, no one would be. If everything and everyone were the exact same, none of the qualities we love about ourselves and our loved ones (the qualities that make them/us unique or special in our minds) would mean anything. If everyone is everything then we are all just the same. Does that make us all nothing? In that world, none of us are special, or smart, or kind, or bold. We all can be all of these things in our own way. But if we are all just the exact same… in that world we are one of many, and in my mind that would be a shame.

    I think the best thing about my job is that it constantly has me thinking about who I am, what I believe, and what I know. What I know for sure is that people interpret the world and express themselves differently. We all have a story, and none of them are the same. Those stories derive from where we came from, who raised us, what bad luck we caught, which chemical levels are in our brains, and what we are drawn to in the world.

    For me a smile means happiness, light, joy, or fearlessness. For others, smiling is a mask, a physical escape, a Band-Aid over a wound, or a self-defense mechanism. When I see someone’s smile, I look to see if it is also in his or her eyes. That is how I interpret a really happy smile, where as for others, if you were not frowning they might assume you are happy. The way one person expresses himself or herself may mean something completely different if another does the same.

    If every person at CAC were magically on the same continent, at the same time, near the same place and we were all staring at the exact same cloud… we may all see something different. But, when we all start calling out what animal, vehicle, thing of the planet, whatever it is that we see – instead of telling one another that is crazy, or wrong, or silly – we would look at that cloud, tilt our heads, open our minds and try to see what they are seeing too.

    What is so interesting to me, and sometimes very sad, is that we can do this when it is something that doesn’t matter. “We”, meaning the people of the world. Something as insignificant as what a cloud looks like warrants an open mind and accepting ear. But when it comes to politics, religion, philosophy, business strategy, gender issues, race, child raising, favorite sports teams…  YOU NAME IT (all of the important stuff), if people do not say or do what we (the people of the planet) believe, or what we want to hear, or what we are comfortable with – we (this is me unfairly lumping the human race all into one) judge them, we put them down, shut them up, argue our point, and so on. When this happens, THAT is what makes being different a bad thing. But, when we are talking about clouds and our minds are open, being different is something that brings us closer together. When we are talking about clouds, perspective is something that makes us smile together and appreciate each other. Perspective otherwise is something that we sometimes fear because it disrupts the world we know.

    How does all of this apply to my trip to Vancouver? Working with Hope and Health? Talking about First Nations/ Reservations struggles? Well – these kids are bullied, judged, looked down on for no reason better than the fact that they are of First Nations descent. A story that we all know, and are fully aware, that the First Nations people were not the bad guys. Worse, the intergenerational trauma these kids have passed down to them and the hardships they see everyday (substance abuse, alcohol abuse, young pregnancy, child abuse, gender inequality, poverty, bullying, discrimination) are all reasons the people in the world around them, shut these kids out. Instead of understanding them, accepting them, appreciating their difference, helping them, learning from them… these kids, their families, are treated like outsiders in their own homes. The most beautiful thing I realized about the coaches that are going to be working on the reservations with the First Nations kids, is that they want those kids to accept them. Their biggest concern was learning how to help those kids trust them as coaches, take them in, open their hearts to them. Because these kids have spent their life being shut out for their difference, that is the only way they know to express themselves. The remarkable thing about these coaches, is that they are so willing to see past those surfaced expressions and are looking to find a way to break through and make sure they express themselves in a way that those kids will understand and interpret to know they are valued and important, and worthy – Because THEY ARE.

    I would like to challenge anyone who reads this:

    Dare to be different. Work to be THE difference you want to see. Strive to accept others difference.

    Be your happiness. Be proud. Be one of one.

    And love yourself – just because you are you.

  • CAC Speak at the Women’s World Cup

    June 9th 2015. This June, Coaches Across Continents will be playing a part in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. As part of the Girl Power in Play Symposium taking place in Ottawa on June 18-19, Monitoring and Evaluation and Curriculum Development Strategist, Sophie Legros has been invited to speak on the panel ‘Sports – Education Outside the Classroom: Peer-to-Peer Mentorship’.

    The presentation will focus on CAC’s success in enabling youth leaders through Self-Directed Learning to educate communities and promote women and girls’ rights. It will introduce ASK for Choice, CAC’s unique female empowerment and gender equality curriculum.

    You can support global female empowerment by making a donation to Coaches Across Continents with a chance to WIN a 1999 US Women’s World Cup shirt signed by the entire squad.

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  • Sophie’s Speaking at the Women’s World Cup

    April 7th 2015. Coaches Across Continents Monitoring and Evaluation and Curriculum Development Strategist, Sophie Legros, has been invited to speak on a panel at the Girl Power in Play symposium in Ottawa. The panel will address Sports – Education Outside the Classroom. The symposium will focus on the power of girls’ involvement in sport and will look at the connection between sports participation and gender empowerment, improved health, changing social norms, and better nutrition.

    The presentation will focus on CAC’s unique approach to sport for female empowerment, the groundbreaking philosophy behind the implementation of the ASK for CHOICE curriculum and the long-term impacts that have ensued from it. Launched on International Women’s Day, the ASK for CHOICE curriculum focuses on tangible outcomes leading to girls’ development, enabling the Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge to increase girls’ ability and opportunity to CHOOSE. CAC’s WISER monitoring and evaluation has demonstrated the success of combining sport and education in influencing local leaders to challenge cultural norms that lead to abusive and discriminatory practices.

    ‘I am honored and extremely excited to participate in the Girl Power in Play symposium. I look forward to sharing CAC’s successes in changing attitudes and gender norms to increase female participation in sport and in empowering inspiring leaders that are creating more inclusive and safer communities for women and girls. I can’t wait to learn from the decision-makers, advocates and leaders in girls and women’s development who will be present at the event.’ – Sophie Legros

    Women Deliver, a global organisation advocating for the health and well-being of girls and women, will be holding this symposium on June 18-19, during the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.

    With only two months before the 2015 Women’s World Cup, you can support global female empowerment by making a donation with a chance to WIN a 1999 US Women’s World Cup shirt signed by the entire squad. The team, including Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy and Michelle Akers, won the World Cup in 1999 held in the US and became soccer legends. To be in with a chance of winning this shirt simply go to this page and make a donation of a minimum of $100 to get your name in the draw to be made on July 5th– the 2015 World Cup final.

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    Sophie (far right) On-Field in Colombia for CAC

     

  • WIN A Signed 1999 US Women’s World Cup Shirt!

    March 5th 2015. CAC are giving you the chance to WIN a 1999 US Women’s World Cup shirt signed by the entire squad while impacting the lives of women through sport. The team, including Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy and Michelle Akers, won the World Cup in 1999 held in the US and became soccer legends. To be in with a chance of winning this shirt simply go to this page and make a donation of a minimum of $100 to get your name in the draw to be made on July 5th- the 2015 World Cup final. This unique shirt was donated to CAC by 1999 squad member and former CAC volunteer Tracy Noonan and will go towards CAC implementing our new female empowerment curriculum which reaches over 280,000 youth around the world.

    Tracy says ‘I am giving you the opportunity of a lifetime- to win my US women’s World Cup 1999 soccer jersey signed by the whole World cup winning squad. To be in with a chance of winning this authentic jersey go to Firstgiving (US) or Justgiving (UK) and donate a minimum of $100/£66 to get your name in the draw. My two greatest soccer moments have been winning the World Cup in 1999 and being part of two Coaches Across Continents (CAC) programs in Tanzania. Both events impacted the lives of women through sport. I am committed to female empowerment and to help launch the new CAC ASK for Choice curriculum I’m asking you to commit to female empowerment too by donating to get your name in the draw for this incredible competition.’

    Go to this Firstgiving page (US) or this Justgiving page (UK) and make a donation of at least $100/£66 and your name will be entered into the filmed draw to take place on July 5th. In addition to being in with a chance of winning the shirt, every entrant will get a fun gift from CAC!

    For Coaches Across Continents, the involvement of women in our programs and the promotion of gender equality in each community we visit is non-negotiable. It is only 4 months until the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada and this Sunday is International Women’s Day making this the perfect time to support global female empowerment.

    66 Can I adopt this kid

     

    If you missed it from earlier this week here is a short film from Cambodia focusing on our female empowerment work: