Alicia Johnson Run’s For CAC
March 19th 2015. Alicia Johnson, former CAC volunteer, ran the Los Angeles marathon last Sunday on behalf of CAC. Not only was Alicia able to run the 26.2 miles but she also managed to raise over $3000 for Coaches Across Continents in the process. Her efforts will help CAC to run our sport for social impact programs all over the world. We would like to thank her on behalf of the communities and youth we serve. Alicia volunteered with CAC in 2011 in Gansbaii, South Africa and with the Special Olympics in Namibia. She now lives and works in LA for Goldman Sachs.
Over 92% of the money donated to Coaches Across Continents goes directly to our global programs, creating social change through sport. Do you have an upcoming fundraiser or event? Why not raise money for youth from disadvantaged communities in some of the poorest areas of the world? To find out more about fundraising on Coaches Across Continents’ behalf please email . The money you raise will address major social problems such as gender inequality, conflict resolution, child rights and HIV/AIDS behavior change.
2013: On The Field Review
January 2, 2014. We have a theory that someone at Coaches Across Continents is always awake and working. Not just because our senior staff resides in the UK, Belgium, Hawaii, and the mainland USA, which spans eleven time zones, but also because we were on the road so often running programs on FOUR CONTINENTS in 2013. Our staff is often awake at odd hours from jet lag and from constant communication with our 51 PARTNER PROGRAMS in 19 COUNTRIES. For those of you who are wondering – those countries were (alphabetically): Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Colombia, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Namibia, Nepal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
The effect of working internationally is the IMPACT we have on individuals, communities, and countries. Our Sport for Social Impact curriculum CREATES SELF-DIRECTED LEARNERS, enabling the individuals we work with to identify local problems and ultimately solve these issues in a locally relevant manner. By empowering communities CAC is helping to enact positive change on a truly global level. Although we have only completed our fifth year on the field, this year our Hat Trick Initiative taught over 2,100+ COACHES AND COMMUNITY LEADERS. These coaches and leaders have been working tirelessly throughout the year to impact OVER 162,000 CHILDREN using our Sport for Social Imipact games, and striving to create the next generation of free-thinkers. Our rapidly growing team firmly believes in transcending the boundaries of education laid down by long-standing traditions. We are passionate about learning, we are passionate about football, and we are passionate about combining these forces to redefine the way the world views the education of children and the development of communities. Alongside our incredible partners from the far reaches of the world, we revel in challenging outdated customs, breaking down unjust societal norms, celebrating our rights, and doing it all on the football pitch, whether green grass, field turf, brown dust, or pure concrete, united by our love for the beautiful game.
As we continue to build on the work we do around the world in sport for social impact and self-directed learning, we remain extremely conscious of PRIORITIZING LOCAL SUSTAINABILITY. In 2013 we launched our COMMUNITY IMPACT COACH (CIC) PROGRAM, which facilitates collaboration among the communities we work in. Leaders from our partner organizations have the opportunity to apply to become a CIC and travel with our teams to other communities within their country, their continent, and even globally. With this program we have witnessed CICs thrive in different environments, out of their comfort zone, where they are able to coach CAC games in settings foreign to their own and gain a greater understanding of the various ways in which sport can be used to educate. Our Community Impact Coaches are not only able to connect with other coaches who share their passion for community development, but are also given the chance to inspire others to become CICs, to travel and learn from different cultures, and return to their own community with greater perspective and knowledge about our shared efforts in the field of sport for development.
Our first CIC was Coach Nico who worked in Ghana and Tanzania. He was followed by Community Impact Coaches Charles “Oti” (Kenya), Salim and Godfrey “Moogy” (Uganda), Corrie, Danver and Bulelani (South Africa), and our last CIC was Homkant (India). These coaches came into their own as ROLE MODELS, enhancing our work on the field far beyond the limits of geography, and we are more than pleased to be able to offer such opportunities to truly amazing leaders. This initiative was a highlight of our 2013 programs, setting the stage for more success, more collaboration, and more participating coaches in the future. In 2014, we hope to have CICs in over half of our partner program countries, starting later this month when we visit Haiti.
While the CAC “Empire” is always awake and working towards creating sustainable sport for social impact programs globally, we are also aware that our work cannot be done without the 28 COACHES and VOLUNTEERS who spent 17,536 HOURS working ON THE FIELD with communities this past year. They are the backbone of our organization and allow change to happen on a worldwide scale. To everyone who traveled with CAC to any one of our 19 countries of operations… THANK YOU!
We hope that if you are interested you will contact us and volunteer your time in 2014 or support our many other initiatives through personal or corporate efforts. Have a great 2014 everyone!
Reaching Out in Rehobeth (Namibia)
July 2nd, 2013. For the second week with Special Olympics Namibia, Brian, Sheila and Charlie travelled south of the capital to the small but rapidly growing town of Rehoboth. SON has recruited many teachers, coaches, and soccer lovers who have quite the urge to make a difference in their community. Rehoboth is made up of vibrantly colored houses and equally vibrant personalities in the coaches that attended our program. We trained our coaches at Rehoboth HS where every morning we saw the future generations of Rehoboth come out of their classrooms and immediately beg us to play with a soccer ball. Clearly, our coaching trainees will have plenty of players willing to join their teams.
Throughout the week, we taught the coaches soccer skills for life through the role models of Marta Vieira de Silva, Jack Wilshire, Cristiano Ronaldo and Emmanuel Adebayor. The coaches learned how to teach kids skills for dribbling, passing and beating your defender, along with drills of combining all three skill sets as well as key social messages that went along with each game.
On Wednesday, the coaches learned five games that addressed HIV responsibility and how to use soccer to emphasize behavioral change to protect yourself from the virus. This was an inspirational day to be a part of as many coaches really started to speak up and have their voices heard on these issues. It was amazing to hear how many people still believe some political leaders’ incorrect statements on how to protect yourself from HIV which the CAC coaches did their best to nullify. All the trainees left that day openly talking and sharing personal stories which is so important in a country with a 15% HIV prevalence rate.
On Thursday and Friday, the trainee coaches got the chance to teach the games and we really got to see their personalities shine on the field. One coach showed how to be a true team player by participating in games taught by her fellow coaches despite her severe high ankle sprain on Monday. Each coach explained the social impact message taught with each game and we were really able to see how much passion these local coaches have on changing their community by teaching conflict resolution, problem solving, health and wellness and increasing overall confidence.
In a town divided into eight blocks, which is how residents label each other in Rehoboth, the five days with CAC showed these soccer coaches can all come together and work as one group for impact and change in their future generations.
Meet the Coaches Working in Namibia
June 17, 2013. Happy (late) Father’s Day everyone! Coaches Across Continents has six coaches and board members here in Windhoek as we start our third year with Special Olympics Namibia. Board member Dr. Judith Gates, who is working with UNICEF to develop a Child Protection Policy, will be working with SON along the same capacity this week. Joining the team is another board member, former 13-year English professional player Bill Gates (Middlesbrough FC) who will be working with the four coaches on the field. The four coaches on the field are Nick Gates, Brian Suskiewicz, Charlie Crawford or Sheila Dohmann. Since we already know about Nick and Brian – here is some more interesting tidbits about our four other team members for the next two weeks.
Charlie is a rising junior at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, USA. He competes on the men’s varsity soccer team as a center back and is studying philosophy. Or is he?… Here are some fun facts with Charlie!
Favorite Team – FC Barcelona
Favorite Player – Zinedine Zidane
Favorite Coach – Nuno Piteira (coached Charlie during club soccer days in Georgia)
Favorite Movie – Silence of the Lambs
Bill Gates made his first-team debut for Middlesbrough at age 17 and was a first-team regular for 13 years. He has worked programs for CAC in Uganda and Tanzania in past years.
Favorite Team – Middlesbrough
Favorite Player – Bobby Charleton
Favorite Coach – Sir Alf Ramsey
Favorite Movie – City Slickers
Why you enjoy working with CAC? – Because Brian is so funny.
Who will win the World Cup in 2014 and 2015? – Brazil and USA
Dr. Judith Gates is a CAC board member and heads our monitoring and evaluation and child safety initiatives. Married to Bill Gates, she has also worked programs in Uganda and Tanzania in past years.
Favorite Team – Middlesbrough
Favorite Player – Bill Gates
Favorite Coach – Sir Bobby Robson
Favorite Movie – Iron Lady
Why you enjoy working with CAC? – “I never cease to be impressed to see at the variety of ways in which they can use soccer to create a real change within communities.”
Who will win the World Cup in 2014 and 2015? – A rare occasion that I agree with Bill, but Brazil and USA
“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” – Special Olympic Athlete Oath
June 16th, 2011. From Dean, Brian, Sophie, AJ and Alicia in Namibia. Namibian culture seems relaxed and unhurried, but our 10 days here have gone by quickly. Now, at the end of our collaboration with Special Olympics Namibia, we’re looking back at our enjoyable time spent working here.
From the start, our objective was two-fold: to offer our blend of soccer training and social engagement and to advance the cause of Special Olympics, particularly in
the realms of acceptance and inclusion. Soccer was the agent, the force behind our two organizations, and we tried to inject plenty of soccer coach training into each session with Olympic Namibia (SON) coaches. We addressed lots of points of methodology in our daily sessions, such as:
- When you’re talking to players, ask
them to stand in front of you so that they can hear you.
- Face the sun so that your players don’t have to.
- Listen to your practice as well as watching it: laughter is a good sound and good feedback for you.
- Use a strong voice.
- Try to avoid activities that involve straight line running.
- Recognize that learning takes a lot of repetitions.
- Always make a plan before practice – and bring it with you.
By themselves, these might seem like small points, but a good coach is in command of
them all, and others that we talked about this week – and they contribute to effective, enjoyable practices.
On this past Thursday, towards the end of the week’s training, we asked the SON coaches to pair up, prepare a game (that was Wednesday night’s ‘homework’), and then coach
that game using the other coaches as their ‘players’. The sessions were very good: they showed good methodology, solid instincts, excellent demonstrations, and earnest effort. All week long the coaches impressed us with their high spirits, friendliness, and open-minded approach. They were a remarkable group: young coaches and older ones; women and men; British university student volunteers; the irrepressible Mojo; Bethuel and Felix, leaders of the Namibian homeless World Cup team and the Namibia Second Chance Street Soccer Project; Deon, a Global Messenger at the SO World Games – every coach distinctive in his or her own way, all drawn together by soccer.
Of course, the social messages were at least as important as the coach training details
and the pure soccer learning. We continued to assert many ideas all week, including:
- Sport should be for everyone: all people should be able to participate and play, regardless of physical/mental limitations.
- There are so many things that can keep us apart (race, tribe, religion, cultural beliefs, etc.): we have to work to stay together.
- Violence, exclusion, racism, threats to health and safety have no place in sport – or in life in general.
- Soccer is a powerful cultural force that can be both an enjoyable game and a means of addressing and solving some of society’s deepest problems.
- Special Olympic Athletes are all individuals, but they have in common an ability to rise to challenges and show bravery.
In all our endeavors over these last 10 days, we have been inspired by the ideals of Special Olympics Namibia. On Friday, Esther Kambala, the director of SON spoke eloquently to all the coaches about the structure and mission of Special Olympics, the largest amateur sports organization in the world:
Among her many insights:
- Katutura was one of the first six sites in Africa chosen to receive a Football for Hope Centre, as part of the legacy of World Cup 2010.
- “The pitch is our diamond.” It’s the only artificial pitch in the
- SO is an international organization for people with intellectual disabilities – people who need special attention. We offer year round training for athletes:
and local, regional, and international opportunities to compete. (A soccer team representing Namibia has been training at Katutura and will leave next week for the World SO Games in Greece!) It’s important that they have
opportunities to compete – to demonstrate courage and experience joy.
- SO is global, important, a movement and a business: it’s about all of us.
- For SO, words matter: they can open doors or make barriers. Demeaning
language robs people of their individuality.
We had the opportunity the very next day to see SON in action. They held a “Special Smiles” day: free dental screenings offered by local dentists who were volunteering their time. SON also offers “Opening Eyes” and “Fit Feet”days. We organized several soccer stations through which the athletes could circulate as they waited for their check-up. For us this was community building at its most beneficial.
We finished our collaboration with SON on Tuesday the 14th of June, after
offering three clinics at local schools designed for students with intellectual
disabilities. We were happy to see, at the schools we visited, many of the athletes who had
been at our sessions last week. One of them greeted us with a wave and a “Marta 2!” – a reference to a move we practiced last week.
Many thanks to Esther Kambala for her inspiration and for enabling us to partner with Special Olympics Namibia.
At the Football for Hope program with Namibia Special Olympics.
June 11th, 2011 from Dean, Brian, Sophie, AJ and Alicia.
After several months of discussions and negotiations, Coaches across Continents has started its first year of a Hat-Trick Initiative partnership in Namibia. We’ve come to
the capital city, Windhoek, to work with Special Olympics Namibia by blending
our missions – which are quite similar to begin with. As always, ours is to educate and support local teachers, who educate local children, ensuring that the program is
consistent and sustainable and that there will be a new generation of community
leaders. Special Olympics aims to “empower people with intellectual disabilities to realize their full potential and develop their skills: through sports training. The world’s sport, soccer, opened the door to our collaboration.
We arrived in Windhoek, a city of about 200, 000 people,
on June first. Namibia and Windhoek were new to all of us. We have found the
country and its capital to be full of startling contrasts. Namibia has been independent for only 20 years; it’s a progressive country, the first one in the world to put protection
of the environment into its constitution. The government has devised a plan, Vision 2030, “to make deliberate efforts to improve the quality of life of our people to the level of their
counterparts in the developed world by the year 2030.” Yet unemployment is around 30%, there is a tremendous difference between the literacy rates of blacks and whites, and the adult prevalence of HIV/AIDS is thought to be 15 per cent. The downtown area of Windhoek is modern and dynamic, but there are impoverished townships not far from the citycenter. Problems here, as in most places, are undeniable – but there are also noble aspirations, a solid government, and a progressive environment. Namibia is beautiful and filled with promise.
Our days here have followed a pattern. We travel every morning from our hostel to a
part of Windhoek called Katutura, where the headquarters of Special Olympics
Namibia is: three small buildings for administration and meetings. Next to those buildings is a small soccer field: artificial surface as big as a hockey rink, four foot high walls around the field. The field was built a year ago by FIFA, the international governing body of soccer.
At 8:30 we organize “Circle of Friends”, all the 35 Namibian coaches and we CaC coaches in a large ring, shoulder to shoulder, friend beside friend, listening to or talking with us as we introduce the day’s plan. Then we warm up, using soccer movements, without and with a ball. We make a point of organizing games that require as few balls and as little
equipment as possible: those may or may not be available to the coaches in
their own settings. After warmup come soccer movements and skills, brief
meetings on the field, and many games to address social issues: female
empowerment, HIV/AIDS prevention, conflict resolution, inclusion. Soccer is the means to our end, but the key here is the message. References to the international stars Ronaldo, Marta, and Tim Howard stimulate interest as the coaches play our imaginative and
provocative games. These games and activities, with their explicit and implicit messages, are complemented by our ‘non-negotiable requirements” for practices – to prohibit any kind of violence, racism, rudeness, etc.
Midway through the morning comes a short discussion
period about the day’s issue, a review of our first session, or questions and answers. The discussions are lively, and they reflect the coaches’ earnest and open-minded approach to our program. In one, we asked the coaches to sharpen up the word “fun”. As far as soccer goes, what does “fun” actually mean? The coaches came up with this:
Learning something new.
Making new friends, keeping old ones.
Competing with self and others.
Scoring a goal.
Being in a team.
Enjoying the game – movement.
In the afternoon, we work with Special Olympics’ athletes. We present challenging
activities and games and support them as they gain skills. Their joy is palpable. The parallels between our mission and that of Special Olympics Namibia have been obvious to us since the first days of our collaboration. Eunice Kennedy Shriver,
the founder of Special Olympics, believed in “the possibilities of individuals
with intellectual disabilities” and “strongly believed that everyone
counts.” So do we.