• Storms in São Paulo

    July 18, 2014.  Melanie Baskind writes this blog from Brazil.  Besides her volunteer work this year with CAC in Brazil, you may remember Mel from her great work with CAC in 2012 in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, and Tanzania.

    Unlike the week of rainy weather we suffered in Sao Paulo, the storm of the German national team came and went quickly. It took just over ten minutes to get going, and once passed had left Brazil in a state of shock, unable to do much other than replay, over and over again, the um, dois, tres, quatro, cinco, seis, SETE goals scored upon them. The Argentineans advancing through on penalties only worsened the country’s mood, as the locals could do little to stop their rivals, clad in blue and white stripes, from singing boisterously in the streets that Maradona was better than Pelé. For the first time since I arrived in Brazil three weeks ago, both common sense and the director of ACER advised me NOT to wear my Argentina jersey in public.

    I have to say I was feeling equally low as the Brazilians, having missed Prince Harry’s visit to ACER by mere days. But inspired by the coaches we worked with for the week, who showed no hint of the depression lingering on the other side of the gated field, I too learned that life must go on. Harry will wait for me…

    Despite these minor glitches, our first week in Sao Paulo was a huge success. In addition to the ACER coaches participating in their second year of CAC training, we welcomed a group of physical education teachers and administrators from Fundação CASA, the national youth offenders institute (juvenile prison system). These new coaches brought a lot of enthusiasm to the sessions, and they were able to quickly grasp what CAC is all about, diving right into the games and their social messages. We hosted the head of the entire system on Thursday, and look forward to seeing where this potential partnership goes in the future. (editors note: Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz visited an institution on July 16th, seeing first-hand their work and playing several CAC games with some of the youth who call the facility their temporary home).

    It was also a special week as we met back up with Ellen and Orlando, who had accompanied us in Brasilia and Rio, respectively, in the two weeks prior as Community Impact Coaches (CIC). It was fun to join forces once again, and see how those weeks had impacted them as individual coaches. One of the highlights of the week took place while I happened to be in the bathroom (harharhar). Tiffany and I had to run back to ACER as the bathroom by the field was locked, and without Tiffany’s translating skills, apparently things were not going so smoothly back at the field. By the time we got back, we found that Orlando had taken complete control over the next game. As preached in our problem solving games, he had identified a problem (the game had been lost in translation), and without coaxing from anyone, stepped in to fix it. I spent a few months volunteering with CAC in 2012 before the CIC program was implemented, and returning to see the program in full force was really cool. Aside from them gaining invaluable experience and additional leadership training, the program really enhanced my experience as a volunteer, as I was able to live and learn from hanging out and working alongside both Orlando and Ellen.

    Like any CAC program, the week was filled with lots of laughs, and a group of kids and coaches with a ton of personality. For every highlight on the field, there was one off the field as well. I think Tim, Jamie and Alex would agree that nothing off the field topped the Afro-Brasilian dance class we participated in on Friday afternoon. We hopped in to a class being taught by one of our coaches, and to the beat of a drum, learned a host of dance moves that I have stored away in my memory to be pulled out at a later time. I arrived back in the US on Monday night, and my first Google search was Afro-Brasilian dance classes in Boston. Nothing came up… but I’m looking into Zumba…

    Thias and Ellen enjoy the week with Coaches Across Continents

    Thias and Ellen enjoy the week with Coaches Across Continents

    What are you looking at Melanie?

    What are you looking at Melanie?

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  • CAC Coach Tim with Prince Harry

    27th June 2014. CAC coach Tim Linden blogs on his day with Prince Harry at CAC implementing community partner ACER in Brazil. 

    It didn’t feel like a typical day in the Eldorado neighborhood of Diadema, São Paulo, where Coaches Across Continents’ first local Brazilian partner, ACER, has been working with at-risk youth for the past 20 years. Amidst the Brazilian flags, banners and streets painted in green, yellow and blue, hinting that it is about that time in the four-year cycle of the world’s most popular sporting event, there was an unusually large number of police, security guards, city officials, foreign reporters and local bystanders gathering to understand why traffic patterns in the community had been altered since 10 AM.

    By 1 PM, one of the local football courts regularly utilized by ACER coaches to implement a sport-for-social-impact curriculum was buzzing with activity. Children, adolescents, parents and even some elderly members of Eldorado were packed in and around the court while the press shuffled about setting up their cameras and microphones. Chatter of British Royalty whirled around the pitch.

    Half of the court was being used by ACER coaches to teach boys and girls about the importance of one’s voice, communication and listening skills. The CAC games being played allow young people to improve such skills and build confidence through play, to later apply such skills at school, in the home and around the community. On the other half of the court, some of Brazil’s most talented female players and representatives of the Guerreiras Project led a workshop on how “the beautiful game” is an example of and an opportunity to improve to make progress on issues of gender inequality and social inclusion in Brazil.

    When Prince Harry arrived, he took a few minutes to make his way around the court to observe the games and tease out their social messages. Soon after, he asked to chat with representatives of ACER, Guerreiras and CAC as the children divided themselves into teams. There was a short discussion about Brazil being the “country of football” and how that title can give a false impression about the value society places on female players, as well as how the sport’s popularity could be leveraged for social impact. It wasn’t long, however, until the children and cheering crowed coaxed Harry into the game and the British Prince worked up a sweat defending the young, agile Brazilians. As a series of short matches concluded, the coaches and children huddled around to compliment the Prince on his performance and thank him for the generous visit, which is sure to have been an inspiring and memorable experience for everyone involved.

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  • Prince Harry visits ACER

    June 26th 2014. Coaches Across Continents’ implementing community partner ACER- Association for Support of Children at Risk- had a special guest in Diadema, Sao Paulo. British royal Prince Harry visited ACER after watching England’s World Cup game against Costa Rica. He played soccer with some of the children in the ACER project, children who are directly impacted by the Coaches Across Continents social impact curriculum. They made sure to use the virtually indestructible One World Futbol for the games with the Prince. He also heard some of the children’s emotional stories and backgrounds involving drug abuse and violence.

    CAC volunteer Tim Linden is in Sao Paulo with ACER and watched the Prince as he played. Tim has volunteered with CAC a number of times and will be helping to run the 2nd year of our program with ACER in Sao Paulo in just 10 days. Tim can be seen in the picture above in a Harvard jersey in the back left. As a very strong implementing community partner organisation we are looking forward to getting to Sao Paulo and working with ACER to further improve the social outlook for local youth. Even if we did miss Prince Harry by 10 days. If only England lasted longer in the World Cup!

    To read more about Prince Harry at ACER please click on this link

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    Photos courtesy of  PA and Getty Images

  • CAC, One World Futbol, ACER and Chevrolet Release a New Video!

    1011488_489932241089527_1366900936_nSeptember 30th 2013. Check out Coaches Across Continents brand new video which demonstrates the incredible potential for soccer, our programs and One World Futbol (OWF). This was filmed in July in Brazil with the ACER organisation which we worked with around the Confederations Cup. The new video was constructed by ESPN who are now running this as a commercial which illustrates the power of the global medium of soccer.  It shows how CAC, as a partner of OWF, are able to bring their ball to life using our games all over the world.

    OWF’s partnership with Chevrolet has allowed communities globally to gain access to their indestructible ball. This includes ACER in Sao Paulo, Brazil who work with street children addressing education, community development and social protection. The OWF allows ACER to run soccer programs using a ball which will not burst or fall apart on their dirt fields. Coaches Across Continents are able to work with the groups such as ACER and outline how to use the ball to teach key social messages. These partnerships involving many organisations and sectors are integral to the development of soccer for social impact for children all over the world.

    Watch the video below, find it on our facebook, on youtube or on our videos page!