• a month of growth

    October 11, 2018. Community Impact Coach Rose Elias recaps her travels throughout Amman, Jordan and throughout Georgia in the cities of Gori, Ambrolauri, Tsageri, and Zugdidi alongside Coaches Across Continents in partnership with Reclaim Childhood, and the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture.

    So about last September with CAC….

    It finally came true! My month with CAC had started. Our first destination was Amman – Jordan. Our program in Jordan was interactive and fun. There, I met some very inspiring coaches and leaders in sports and sports for social impact. Through our partner Reclaim Childhood I had the chance to talk to some incredible women that decided to just go for it despite social pressures or gender roles. Also, amazing coaches from the southern Jordan with good hearts and generous souls. It felt good to be in Jordan because as an Arab I had the chance to experience another Arab culture; it was similar, different and interesting.

    Our second destination was Georgia, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture. We had a big program in Georgia covering 4 different areas Gori, Ambrolauri, Tsageri and Zugdidi. It was overwhelming seeing Tbilisi another time, just because it is one of those cities you feel happy going back to. As we were moving from one location to the other we had to travel sometimes up to 3-4 hours by car. Never ending beauty through mountains and valleys, crossing rivers, experiencing Georgian hospitality as we stayed with two very warm families in Ambrolauri and Tsageri that made us feel like home. As high as the experience was, we also had to face big challenges during our sessions. I felt how hard it is for Women to achieve something different, social pressure is strong, it feels like it is hard for the younger generation. A lot of their needs are neglected because of social conformity and the rough nature of their lifestyles. It was not easy to observe and not feel some pain during this trip. On the other hand the Georgian culture is very rich and people have such strong connections with their neighbors, insanely generous and they are very happily living their clean, organic and literally fruitful lives. We tasted some top notch home-made wine, liqueur and an abundance of authentic Georgian cuisine. 

    Life has been very generous with me, it offered me this CAC trip. I could feel my person growing every single day. I learned a lot as a sports for social impact coach, I experienced two amazing cultures, Markus, Jesse, Toko and I were each other’s family, we cared and looked after one another. These moments will forever stay in my heart. My friends back home are telling me that my face is glowing! The secret behind this radiance is an unforgettable CAC trip that fertilized my inner-growth and showed me how powerful our work is. I can’t wait for what is coming. 

     დიდი მადლობა (Didi madloba)

     (Shukran) شكرا   

      Thank you 

  • GEORGIA Rose

    October 4, 2018. Community Impact Coach Rose writes about her experience working On-Field with Coaches Across Continents for the first time in Georgia with Community Partner, Ministry of Sport and Culture alongside SDL Educator Markus Bensch. 

    As we arrived  last Saturday  to Tbilisi my heart warmed up with nostalgia of very special memories from my trip last year. A day later we arrive to Gori, Stalin’s hometown, known for its tasty apples. I didn’t know what to expect on our first day. We had a large group of school teachers and sports coaches of different diciplines.

    This experience was very special because of so many different reasons.  It was the first time I train people that come from a completely different culture and speak a language I can’t understand. Also, it was interesting to have a variety of age groups. I can’t deny that I felt challenged the first day because most of the participants had a lot of pride to their physical abilities and achievements throughout the years. Our mission was to introduce them to a new perspective, where they can use sports for social impact and personal growth. As the days passed we overcame many challenges and we played fun inclusive games.

    One very special person I will always remember is Luda, a 10 year old girl, usually she spends a good amount of her time playing with the boys around the neighborhood. Luda watched us play for 2 days and on the third day she couldn’t help herself from joining, so she just stood with everyone, grabbed a bib and considered herself a participant in the program. I will always remember her everlasting smile and eager eyes observing the field and waiting for the ball to come her way. Luda is a gifted soul!

    CIC Rose, on her experience during her last week on-field with Coaches Across Continents in Zugdidi, Georgia. 

    This was our last program in Georgia. I can say that our 3 days went very well. Around 45 coaches and teachers from different disciplines actively participating. I loved that we had vocal female coaches and relatively younger participants leading change in their communities. We were able to have a lot fun and discuss very important social problems and challenges in Zugdidi like alcohol and drug abuse, gender equity, healthy lifestyles and we had many Q&A talks about Child Rights alongside our Child Protection Training. Our incredible coaches were very engaged in the conversations, and everyone was sharing their ideas and solutions.

    One moment I will remember for a while, when around 4 coaches were discussing “what is the best alcohol and drugs awareness approach for Children?” Seeing the conversation happen, 4 different points of views, 4 different ways, different opinions, etc… the CAC team created this safe space for them to freely discuss and share their ideas! Serving a higher purpose in life drives and shapes the person I dream of becoming.

    It was simply beautiful, empowering and felt like a big success being in Zugdidi.

    Didi Madbloba Zugdidi (Thank you so Much Zugdidi)!

     

  • And so it begins…

    September 19th, 2018. Global Citizen Jesse DiLuzio writes about his first country on-field with Coaches Across Continents with Community Partner Reclaim Childhood in Jordan.

    My work with CAC began in Amman, Jordan where I was fortunate enough to work with coaches from a diverse group of countries that included Jordan, Somalia, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria! As part of this process, CAC partnered with a local non-profit called Reclaim Childhood, an organization that works to empower refugee and at-risk women and girls in Jordan through sport and play. This partnership proved to be a fruitful one, and myself, Markus (full-time CAC Coach), and Rose (Community Impact Coach from Lebanon) were very fortunate to work with an incredible group of motivated coaches.

    Over the course of the week, we discussed a number of issues with a focus on rights for refugees and women in society. During these discussions, it became increasingly clear that many of the coaches in front of us were already great leaders in their communities. Haneen Khateeb, a female coach from Amman is one of these examples. Just last year, Haneen broke a world record through her participation in the highest-elevation soccer match ever played. At the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Haneen along with 29 other players representing 22 different countries played the 90 minute match 5,985 meters above sea level. As extraordinary as this feat was both physically and mentally, it is even more incredible when you consider the social impact of her actions. While the women’s football scene in Jordan has been much improved under the leadership of HRH Prince Ali, the role of women in sports has been a controversial topic across the region, where in some places, women are banned from participating in sports altogether. Haneen’s efforts served as an inspiration for thousands of women looking to overcome their obstacles and pursue their dreams.

    Other coaches that we trained also told us about the amazing efforts that they have put forth in order to provide a positive environment for other underserved groups. Muhammad (Yasin) and Paul, two friends from Amman, have effectively created a space in their homes for over one hundred refugees to discuss, challenge, and collectively overcome the many obstacles they face coming from corrupt, war-torn states such as Syria. Not to mention the incredible women who work with Reclaim Childhood throughout the year constantly recruiting underprivileged girls across Jordan to learn and play soccer in a space free from social pressure.  

    While I entered the week eager and enthusiastic to provide and teach all of the things I have learned in 18 years as a soccer player/coach, I found myself doing quite the opposite. There’s a saying in Jordan that “whenever you are full, you can still eat forty more tidbits of food”. While I was always too full to test its validity during meals, I think this spirit was certainly embodied by the coaches that we worked with this week. Despite the fact that all of them had already accomplished incredible things in their communities, none of them were full. They always wanted to learn more, and their enthusiasm was unwavering. I became the listener, the learner, the “trainee”, as the coaches took the games/discussions that we led and took them to new heights. It was a humbling experience, one that put a lot of my previous assumptions about coaching into doubt. 

    Off the field, the experience was quite wonderful as well! The locals in Amman are very hospitable and have warm hearts. They will feed you till you can’t move, talk to you until days end, and are always down for a coffee or two. Must haves for me are Shawarma from Saj’s, Falafel from Chammad’s?, Frike, Labaneh, and Mansaf from anywhere. Petra beer is pretty good as well. 

    It was truly an amazing first week with Coaches Across Continents and I look forward to more travels with the organization!

    Until next time,

    Jesse DiLuzio