Chile, Cuatro Ciudades
April 27, 2018. Community Impact Coach Lina reflects on her on-field weeks working with CAC partner Futbol Mas in Chile, alongside the rest of the CAC team.
Iquique, Copiapó, Santiago y Concepción
Durante esta experiencia de dos semanas, puedo decir que tuvimos (Nora, Abby y yo) el privilegio de compartir con personas maravillosas de diferentes ciudades de Chile. En cada desplazamiento se observaba los contrastes en sus paisajes, las dunas, el mar, lo árido, lo verde, las montañas, el frio, el calor y esto se reflejó en la fuerza de su gente con el “exceso de pasión” para cada momento.
Durante las dos semanas pudimos trascender el deporte más allá de la alta competencia (Ganar/Perder), a través de juegos direccionados a temas de impacto social: inclusión, equidad, respeto al otro, interculturalidad, derechos humanos, educación sexual y medio ambiente. Al compartir metodologías se nos pueden abrir oportunidades para ampliar nuestra comprensión.
Gracias por hacerlo posible, CAC, Ask for Choice, Fútbol Más e Inder Medellín.
Cultural Differences, Cultural Development
As a Community Impact Coach, I joined Jordan from CAC in Lebanon. On the third week of training, we moved from the seashore to the mountainous region of Zahle. The taxi driver who took us to the region was very kind and stopped every now and then to allow us to take some photos of the beautiful view. Later on, we arrived in Zahle; we were staying in the area of Maronite Christians, which was surrounded by statues of St. Charbel and Maryam. We descended towards the lower part of the mountain to Saadnayel, which is the beginning of the Muslim region – and where we were holding our training.
The participants of the training were of different nationalities, including Palestinians and Syrians. They had different backgrounds, cultures, religions and beliefs. Seeing past each others differences is one of the most important factors in life skills through sport for social impact games. There were challenges in implementing the games because of cultural difference and the interaction of both genders; the problem was solved by using alternative methods – ex. tagging or holding hands through use of the bibs.
During the first day, men were playing very rigorously during the games, which made women want to sit at the back and not show any willingness to participate. By bringing this issue up during discussions and asking for solutions, they agreed on equal participation. During one of the coach back sessions, the participants had set a rule where only the women could score a goal. This demonstrated good progression of the group.
One of the participants who motivated me was a lady called Mirna, who was born with a disability because of the relative marriage of her parents. She is a Ph.D. student who is studying NLP. She is Palestinian and living as part of a minority group in Lebanon. Observing different kinds of discrimination, she spent most of her childhood in hospitals and at home. She overcame her isolation with the help of her psychologist by setting life goals. She is a life skills instructor, a psychologist, and a role model for many of her students.
Obtaining experience in coaching different groups of cultures and religions allowed me to better understand their mentality, and it facilitated the sharing of ideas and knowledge. It was inspiring to see and meet different people who thrive to provide equal opportunity for their students and provide a safe space for them to express their opinions.
Having No Plan, Is Planning
August 2, 2017. Global Citizen Nicole writes about her experience coaching and camping in Zimbabwe as CAC worked with World Parks, World Cup.
In South Africa, a common phrase you hear is, “We’ll make a plan”. Typically meaning the current situation isn’t going as originally planned and there is no clear solution at the moment. In the States, it’s relatable to creating a “plan B” or trying our very best to “go with the flow”.
The saying makes me laugh every time I hear it and I hope that I continue to use it when I get home. It makes everything seem OK and less urgent or threatening. In the grand scheme of things, that is true, things will probably work out.
Our trip to Zimbabwe from Bennde-Mutale, South Africa was definitely one of these situations. While it only takes about 3 hours to walk from SA to the village we were staying in Zim, it was an 8 to 9 hour journey by car, inclusive of a large dried up river bed where your tires easily get stuck in the sand, intense border patrol on both sides & bumpy unmarked roads where the memory of various trees – that all look identical to me – were our compass. Yet, it was never of any concern, we were in good hands with World Parks, World Cup – and well, we made a plan.
We arrived in Chishinya, Zimbabwe a little before dark, where the Moyo family welcomed us after our long journey. Chishinya isn’t on any map, at least that I’ve seen. And I wasn’t originally expecting to go to Zimbabwe when volunteering – or to be sleeping in a tent, camping under the Milky Way, building a fire each night to cook and stay warm, serving as a space to discuss religion, politics, relationships and all of the joys of life with my travel companions and the Moyo’s.
In the end, Zim was one of the more rewarding weeks of my time volunteering with CAC. It had the perfect mix of the “expected” pieces of the program – coaching, connecting with people and fun with the kid’s. With the unexpected elements of magic that come along with a true adventure. I live for a good adventure! We experienced elements of life in Zim that we otherwise wouldn’t have.
Mr. Moyo and his family were special; they were kind to us, naturally warm and loving, treating us like family from the moment we arrived. It’s a comfort you feel around certain people, an aura or energy they exude that can’t be faked. They were happy, loving people who opened their homes, for which I will be forever grateful.
One of my favorite memories is the hat that Mr. Moyo wore every day with “Nicole” stitched into the front. Maybe it was fate that we were to meet. And as he said when we hugged goodbye, “we will all meet one day in heaven”. Whether heaven exists for you, it’s a nice thought and the most realistic setting for our next meeting.
It is hard to say goodbye to people after you have become part of their everyday lives, even for only a week. And more so when knowing you won’t be following their Instagram account or sending iMessage photos of your daily life to them. It is unlikely that your worlds will cross again. Regardless, you still hope that they do and the reality is that you will think of them often for some time.
Most importantly, it felt that we made lasting connections in Zimbabwe, with coaches, teachers and community leaders who were engaged in the games & the social messages that were pertinent to their communities. The beauty of the CAC program is the focus on sustainability, providing the participants with the skills and resources to teach and adapt the games as needed in their local environment.
I look forward to checking back in on the programs that I volunteered with to see if the same people are involved and the progress that has been made over the next year. The work of CAC is powerful – both in the vision and execution. I am very proud of the time I spent volunteering and of the valuable things I learned. I have the utmost respect for those working in social impact. Thank you for letting me be a small piece of the team for a few weeks – I hope to be involved again soon!
A Special Third Year in Katatura Namibia
June 24, 2013. For the third consecutive year a Coaches Across Continents team (Brian Suskiewicz, Charlie Crawford, Sheila Dohmann, Nick Gates, Bill Gates (former Middlesbrough professional) & Dr. Judith Gates – CAC board member) came to Katatura, Namibia and worked with coaches at Special Olympics Namibia. Although is was our third year we taught all new games that emphasize conflict resolution, gender equality, and health and wellness through the use of sport. At the Football for Hope Center there was a solid average turnout of 30 coaches a day with a very small number of them ever having any prior coaching experience. By the end of the week these coaches had not only gained the knowledge of games that teach social lessons, but had practiced on each other and done a fair job at imitating Nick and his mannerisms. Some even went so far as to claim “all seeing eyes” and demand public apologies from their players for mistakes.
A group of these new members to the Coaches Across Continents family will be playing in the Homeless World Cup this August. Easily identified by their dyed blonde hair and serious expressions, they would run themselves ragged by playing pickup in the morning and somehow keep chugging along through the next four hours of our own sessions. They have the real potential for change in Namibia because they are all too familiar with the social problems that exist having lived them throughout their lives.
In the afternoons, after working with the coaches, the CAC team would go to schools that Special Olympics works with and run a session for the kids. Tuesday we went to the Dagbreek School. It was an inspiring trip. We had never seen kids look after each other as compassionately as these did. These kids managed to be more considerate and aware of all of each other’s needs better than any teacher or supervisor ever could and it was done with a smile. They’d pat each other on the back, willingly give up their turn to a newcomer, and give high-fives as often as possible. One young girl even kindly demonstrated to a struggling Bill how to sit on a ball without falling over. Our first week working with SON has been great, and we expect another fantastic week in the nearby city of Rehobeth next!
Coaches Across Continents Releases New Video
February 27, 2013. Coaches Across Continents is happy to release our latest video, our 2013 Social Impact Documentary.
Filmed in Marsabit, Kenya with our partner group Horn of Africa Development Initiative (HODI), this community is showing how sport can change a community that faces female genital mutilation, girls being sold into marriage, and gun violence.
It’s fascinating to see the impact of the Coaches Across Continents work from the voices of the local coaches, teachers, and young people. We get a chance to see first-hand the impact that sport is having on programs like HODI all over the world.
Nick Gates, Founder, Coaches Across Continents
Meet the Coaches – Haiti Edition!
January 10, 2013. Coaches Across Continents is happy to welcome two new faces this week, Cheta Emba and Marie Magolius. Both Cheta and Marie are sophomore soccer players at Harvard University and will be working with our partner program and Street Football World member, GOALS Haiti. This is CAC’s first year working with GOALS Haiti.
Cheta comes to CAC from the great state of Virginia where she was a GK for the Virginia Olympic Development Program team as well as a captain for her soccer and basketball teams. At Harvard University she is taking pre-med studies while continuing to play for the soccer program. She has played in ten games over her first two seasons. “I want to volunteer for Coaches Across Continents because it unites two things that I am passionate about: service with/for others and soccer.”
Marie is a defender from Acton, Massachusetts who has seen action in 31 games in her first two seasons at Harvard. She is studying Environmental Science and Nutrition. Her visit to Haiti will be her first experience outside of the country. “I’ve always wanted to do community service.., but I’ve never come across an opportunity like this one. When three girls on my Harvard soccer team told me about Coaches Across Continents, I knew I immediately wanted to be a part. Everything I’ve heard about the program is great, and I can’t wait to get involved.”
Cheta and Marie will be assisted by CAC Founder Nick Gates for this two-week program.