• Getting Creative With Chevrolet

    November 11th 2016. CAC’s award-winning partnership with Chevrolet FC continued in Delhi, India with Sudeva.

    This week we have been delighted to bring our partnership with Chevrolet FC to Sudeva Sports in Delhi, India. Chevrolet recently built a full-size grass field for Sudeva. They are one of the biggest football academies in Delhi with some of the best sporting talent in the country. The new field will help Sudeva take their academy to the next level and continue their players physical and personal development. Chevrolet FC hosted an event in Delhi which brought Manchester United legend Quinton Fortune to Delhi to open the new field.

    Excitement and hope are common emotions in Delhi. The sights, sounds and smells convey a sense of history, diversity, unpredictability and passion. This is constantly expressed in many ways including the incessant beeping of car horns and the mixing of innumerable spices to create delicious meals. During our time working with Sudeva we experienced these feelings on the sports field. Working with an energetic group of young men and women from Sudeva and another Delhi partner, Naz Goal, we saw their excitement in every game we played and felt their openness through high-fives, handshakes and the occasional fistbump. Most of all though we heard their belief in a community, city and country which has the ability to grow and develop into a hub for critical thinking, open-mindedness and tolerance through their words and laughter.

    CAC attempts to create a space, using sport, where participants can safely discuss problems in their community and identify creative solutions to these problems. During this program, the group discussed issues such as gender equality, social inclusion and the environment (especially as the field was covered in smog after Diwali) which harm the economic and social development of their country. Towards the end of the week the young leaders were becoming adept at creating new sport for social impact games to address these issues with local youth. Following discussions with participants we prioritized our ASK for Choice female empowerment curriculum due to the troublingly high instances of discrimination against women in all walks of life in India. These games often prompted the most impactful discussions of the entire program. As Vicky, 1st team goalkeeper for Sudeva said, ‘Gender equality starts with us – ourselves, families, communities and up to our country and world.’

    Thanks to Chevrolet FC, our work with Sudeva will allow their hopeful young leaders to sustainably use the new field to harness the creativity and passion of local children for social good. The safe space, energy, support and resources are there- now it is time to implement.

     

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  • Community Impact Coach in Delhi

    November 21, 2014. Community Impact Coach, Gurpratap “Guru” Singh, joins CAC On-Field for three weeks of programs in India. He writes about his experience with The Football Link in Delhi, where we first met him this time last year. 

    It was 2013 November when The Football Link Delhi partner for Coaches Across Continents called me to attend a training program for coaches which was sports for social impact. It sounded great. It was the first time when I met Nora and Nick at the Delhi camp. The exciting thing about the CAC camp is that sports can be used for changing the world, spreading awareness about social issues through sports (football). The games which are played are all same in the world of football but the difference is the way of teaching with more fun and fun with many social messages in one game. A sport is not mere entertainment but it is much more than that which I learned from CAC. I love all the CAC beliefs and support them. CAC is totally different education/knowledge and learning for coaches.

    Working as a Community Impact Coach with CAC this year at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium has been a totally different experience, more of a learning as a coach than a participant. The most amazing part of my journey was to meet different organizations (Naz, My Angel’s Academy, Football Link etc) which are working for the development of football, kids, and community in the state. I was moved to see the amount of work they have done and got excited to see their future plans. The CAC journey has helped me to increase my social network of football. At Jawaharlal Nehru stadium I was surprised to see the number of coaches than last year when I was one among them. If I have to choose one game it is quite difficult and I know the CAC family would agree with me. I love all games played till yet but as the tradition which I love to follow which is expressing a game enjoyed the most, that would be Mia Hamm Communication. I love the combination of football and its social messages of communication, self confidence and telling the good thing about others making the environment amazing with positive energy. One feels positive vibes and safe space all around.

    Being a Community Impact Coach it felt great to see coaches looking at you as their role model and pushing themselves to be like us in their community. It gives you great satisfaction when you see people want to change their thinking and challenge themselves.

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  • Confidence Across Continents

    November 15, 2014. Volunteer Coach Earl Strassberger writes about the first week of his second stint On-Field with CAC, last year in Cameroon and Ghana, this year in India.

    We are working in Delhi, with a group of 33 young ladies. They are of college age and are the most confident group of young people I have ever met.  They are energetic, athletic, and polite.  They speak up.  They listen to others.  They support each other.

    Coaches Across Continents (CAC) worked with most of these young ladies last year.  They clearly remembered much from last year.  I can see why.  When we are teaching in a classroom setting they have pencils and notebooks.  During water breaks they take out their notebooks and write down the names and descriptions of the games they just played.  They are able to concentrate.  In fact, as I am writing this we are having a discussion of a child’s rights in a school room that doubles as a gym.  There is a class of adorable six year-olds learning dance moves.  Our girls are not distracted.

    They gain their confidence in a number of ways.  One is by learning to speak up.  The girls all play netball.  As with any sport you must warm up.  We use a CAC game called Circle of Friends.  The game involves moving to the center of the circle and back out.  How they move is determined by the leader.  It could involve high stepping; running; side to side movement; etc:  But it is the other purpose that is so important.  When they go to another person they slap hands and scream out their names.  They use their voices authoritatively.  Note that the leader changes what they shout out:  For example; the second shout could be the name of their favorite team.  We may have them do a silly handshake instead of high fives.  But the most fun is having each pair jump, bump, and shout, ¨boom shakalaka¨.  They love it!  Last year I was in Cameroon with Brian.  We just arrived in Buea and were walking through town when a coach saw Brian and shouted, you guessed it, boom shakalaka!

    The second way these young ladies gain confidence is through learning how to play netball and being on a team.  They are good at it!  After one practice we played a game with them.  I repeat, these girls are good players.

    The third way they have gained confidence is because of the fantastic support from our partner organization; the Naz India Foundation.  These girls are lucky to be in this amazing program.  Naz uses games from CAC’s Goal On-Field curriculum developed in partnership with Standard Chartered Bank.

    The girls proved themselves over the last two days.  First they got into groups of four or five and then they spent an hour thinking of problems in their communities.  After that we asked them to create a CAC-like game to send the message about the problem.

    The next day we watched them conduct their games with the children of the school where we did our training.  Each group had its challenges.  One was a group of about 30 boys and girls about eight years old.  Another was a smaller group, maybe only 15, but all fourteen-year-old boys.

    The girls took charge.  They had the kids playing their games.  They held discussions about the problem and the possible solutions. It worked, the kids were engaged and our girls experienced more success.

    Note that Naz is much more than some games.  The girls start out as participants in a 10-month program.  It is a women’s empowerment program offering weekly sessions to adolescent girls who may or may not be in school and whose families have low income.  They learn netball and life skills such as health, rights, communication, and financial literacy.

    The second year they become peer leaders and community sport coaches.  They are assigned to a school and coach groups of kids; sometimes as many as 200.  They receive a stipend for this work.

    The third year a very few, the best of the best, get paid positions as netball coaches and life skills trainers.  We had Pooja and Amrita working with us.  They were professional in all aspects of the Naz and CAC programs.  Other graduates of the program have found jobs with Standard Chartered and other corporations.  By the way, Naz also runs an orphanage!  What a wonderful organization. Their participants will create positive change in India.

    On a personal note; I am a retired school teacher.  Working with young people always makes me feel younger.  Working with the CAC staff; Sophie and Billy, and our community impact coach, Guru, is terrific.  They make it easy to be successful.

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    Self-Directed Learning in action as the girls Create games to address chosen social issues

  • Loud and Proud

    November 12, 2014.  Volunteer Ali Pleiman speaks about her first week working with CAC at Naz Goal Mumbai.

    Caught in a whirlwind of bright colors and honking horns. Everywhere I look, I see people. The rich and the poor are intermixed with cats, dogs, cows, goats, trash, and beautiful trees. It seems like mayhem, but it’s not- it’s Mumbai! Somehow there’s this rhythm in which all things are living and moving together. All I can do is marvel at the organized chaos around me and try not to get run over. This indefinable energy didn’t slow down once we hit the field; it manifested in the smiling faces around me, showing enthusiasm every step of the way.

    This week we worked with Naz Goal, a netball organization in their third and final year of the Hat-Trick Initiative. They explained to us that “Naz” means “proud,” and after meeting these bright young women, I can see why the name is such a good fit. Of all the life skills we touched on this week, the one that stood out the most for this group was the power of using one’s voice.

    Although we were constantly in a state of play, sporadic interjections for reflection and discussion would highlight the real world significance for this skill, Off-Field as well as On-Field. With this element built into many of the games, I could see how their confidence rose with their voices and drastically improved their communication. They were ready for the challenge that is Year 3: “Create.”

    This strength shined through even more in the collaborative process as they were positioned to pick a problem and design a game from scratch. Everyone was engaged in the trial and error that followed, encouraged to solve their own problems when obstacles presented themselves. Female empowerment was a resounding theme that only intensified as time went on. As more and more girls were eager to voice their opinions and ideas, there were more opportunities to challenge the existing order of things and make the distinction between chance and choice in their culture- using your voice for your choice.

    It was truly amazing to watch the progression throughout the week. It became blatantly obvious just how much one’s self-esteem can contribute to the pursuit of a goal. This simple truth is so easy to forget and I was grateful that I could be reminded of its impact.

    I was so inspired and impressed that I often felt these girls were coaching me more than I was coaching them. This is truly a testament to how effective the CAC initiative is at work, establishing self-directed learners in this community. As this was my first volunteering experience, I lucked out that right off the bat I was able to see how the CAC program comes full circle.

    “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves” Steven Spielberg.

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    It’s all smiles working in Mumbai

    Ali and Nora celebrating our partnership with Naz Goal

    Ali and Nora celebrating our partnership with Naz Goal

  • Worldwide Women’s Day Celebrations

    1495116_638780162837889_1730077393_oMarch 19, 2014. Have we told you how fantastic, passionate, and committed our partners are to making a difference? Well if we haven’t told you lately, let us tell you now! Women’s Day was March 8th, and our remarkable partners took it on full force.  Working in over 20 countries at the moment, we had pictures and stories coming in from South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Cambodia, Indonesia, India, and Haiti – and that is just the beginning.

    Our partners are not only top notch in the sport for social impact world, but they also host unique events when it comes to special dates like International Women’s Day. We have a partner in Dodoma, Tanzania who hosted an event with over 180 young girls participating, and played female empowerment games including Jackie’s Circle and Tegla identity from the CAC curriculum. Our partners in Uganda hosted events attended by numerous women’s charities where they touched on subjects ranging from gender equality to environmental conservation while celebrating women of all ages, and the importance of having female role models.IMG-20140308-00259

    One of our South African partners, WhizzKids United, celebrated Women’s Day focusing on specific issues for women in their community and having Gugu Mofokeng inspire the young women to stand up against violence. GOALS Haiti celebrated the day by hosting their second girls clinic educating young women about health, and making it a safe and comfortable place to communicate and ask questions.

    Our partner NAZ Goal from India took a different approach on Women’s Day inviting parents of youth from their foundation to come to their celebration, and have young girls teach female empowerment games. The girls taught their parents one of CAC’s favorite games, “Seles Attack”, and helped spread awareness on safe spaces in the community.

    IndoChina Starfish in Cambodia celebrated Women’s Day by highlighting their two incredible female coaches, and telling their inspirational stories. Working first hand with these coaches, and reading their personal stories that got them to where they are now is astonishing.

    Coaches Across Continents wants to thank our partners for the incredible difference they make every day in the lives of the people in their communities. Women’s Day was a huge success thanks to the passionate, hard-working local organizations we are lucky to work with around the world.

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  • CAC does Netball for Social Impact

    December 3, 2013. Sorry did I say netball? I meant foot… no, no, netball. That’s right. CAC coaches Sophie Legros, Nora Dooley, Sarah Brown, and CIC Homkant Surandase from Slum Soccer, stepped off the football pitch and onto the netball court for two weeks working with NAZ GOAL (nerd-alert! not be confused with the hobbit-hunting ring-wraiths in Tolkein’s classic). These two trainings in India were spent in Mumbai and then Delhi with two great groups of young leaders having a real impact on their communities.

    mumbai scaryOur first week in Mumbai stands as the second year we have sent coaches to work with this team from NAZ. Our staff were very impressed by the manner in which this group presented themselves to us – who they are, what they currently do, what they want to do, and what they need from our team to make the most of our time in Mumbai and to have the greatest possible impact on the communities they work in. The communication was refreshing and the week kicked off – or should I say passed off? – to a great start.

    IMG_0254The participants consisted partly of peer leaders from the GOAL program. These are young female GOAL participants that are emerging as leaders among their peers and are pursuing the opportunity to play a more active role in their community. The rest of the group was made up of Community Sports Coaches (CSCs) and Senior Coaches. The CSCs are girls who have developed from peer leaders into coaches, and the Senior Coaches are young women – and one man! – who have come into their own as role models to the others, leading all things NAZ GOAL throughout Mumbai and beyond.

    sophie and coachThe priority for this week, as communicated to us by the NAZ senior leaders, was for us to go through each GOAL game thoroughly to ensure that all participants understand how the game connects with the social message, and how to balance the dynamic between GOAL games and GOAL classroom activities. To assist in this effort we asked to be taken to a GOAL classroom session at a school so we, CAC, could better understand that aspect of the program. Our team started the day off by coaching the GOAL participants, a large group of giggly young girls, in one of our Be Money Savvy games called Budgeting with Yelena. This is a game of tag where the taggers represent things we should not be spending our money on, or “wants”, and we ask the players to come up with examples. This group thought of makeup, fast food, parties, and jewelry to begin the game. We play the first round where the  “wants” chase everybody else and if they tag somebody they give them the cone and that person becomes the “want”. Then we add netballs. The netballs represent money. If a player has a ball she is safe and they must pass to each other to keep each other safe from the “wants”. But, if they drop a ball, or it goes out of bounds, they’ve lost the ball, the money. The players are forced to make smart, quick decisions to stay away from the “wants” and not lose their money. In life we must make good decisions and not spend our budget on the things we want but the things we need. We ask the girls after the game about “needs” and to give us examples of things in life that we need. This game corresponds with the classroom session “Wants and Needs” that we observed afterwards led by some of the CSCs. This activity expands on the differences between the things we want and those that we need, giving more examples, as well as giving the participants a sample budget and asking them how they would spend it.

    After this day we really understood what the NAZ Mumbai team needed and how we could best help them. The rest of the week was terrific and both groups left feeling satisfied that we accomplished our goals, enabling each other to do our jobs and achieve maximum impact.

    As we bid farewell to the heat of Mumbai, the wonderful YMCA where we stayed, and that incredible group of game-changers, we set our sights on Delhi, and prepared for the sensory overload that comes with the capital city.

    Same organization. Same country. That’s about all that was similar between our two weeks with NAZ GOAL.

    Delhi was a different state, different city, different group of participants, and a vastly different week overall.

    And that’s the beauty of Coaches Across Continents.

    homkant and naz goalInitially the program was to be the same with both groups, as we had previously planned with Senior Coaches from both cities. But just as we discover with every program, in every city/town/village, in every country we work in, plans change, adapt, transform as we begin to understand who we are working with, the dynamics of the group, the unique situation they are coming from, working in, striving for. It is all part of that magical CAC equation that yields success worldwide.

    NAZ GOAL Delhi is where NAZ began in India, and it was obvious from the outset that this program was farther along in terms of organizational structure, management and sheer size. A larger group of participants, made up mostly of peer leaders and CSCs, the priority for this group was for the younger members to step up as coaches and practice their leadership skills.

    Built in to the week were two of the regularly planned GOAL sessions where peer leaders and coaches run games and classroom activities for about 150 students from the school where we were working. The plan for these sessions was for the GOAL team to assist the CAC team with one game, and then run the second on their own. Our team decided to play Mia Hamm Communication in one massive circle with 150 screaming, hormonal teenagers. Good idea? Great idea! Chaos ensued, naturally, but who doesn’t love a bit of mayhem at the office? The students went absolutely nuts, especially the boys, but they were so happy, so excited to play, so eager to learn and listen to every single word we had to say, and spoke great English so we actually managed to get bits of the social message across – wow! That was a ton of fun.

    The young leaders were great all week. At each and every session they could not wait to play, learn netball skills (from our CAC master netball coaches, of course), and participate in discussions about everything from the importance of budgeting and saving money, to keeping our bodies healthy and how important it is for women to empower each other, for men to empower women, and for women to empower men.

    Another great week with NAZ GOAL, a long blog, and our last stop in India as we say bye to CIC Homkant and coaches Sophie, Nora, and Sarah finish up long trips on the field for one last program in the beautiful mountains of Nepal – jealous? Yep.

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