• 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

  • Double Finalist at the Beyond Sport Awards

    October 27, 2014.  Coaches Across Continents is a double-finalist at the prestigious Beyond Sport Awards in the category of Corporate of the Year for our partnerships with Chevrolet and Standard Chartered Bank.  The 2014 awards will be presented this year in Johannesburg, South Africa from October 28-30th.  Out of 350 entrees received from 70 countries, Coaches Across Continents is the only organization that has been short-listed as a multiple finalist.  In addition, Nick will also be speaking and presenting during the three-day conference as he did earlier this year at Beyond Soccer 2014.

    In 2014 CAC was excited to begin our partnership with Chevrolet on their “What Do You #PlayFor?” Campaign which launched in Indonesia, and continued at communities in the USA and South Africa.  Chevrolet was instrumental in building a soccer facility for each community, as well as utilizing Coaches Across Continents to educate local coaches and leaders in a sport for social impact curriculum to facilitate long-term social development.  CAC is also included with Standard Chartered Bank and their ongoing GOAL Programme, where we developed an on-field component to their female empowerment initiative and financial literacy.

    Coaches Across Continents has a strong and positive history with Beyond Sport as winners in Best New Project (2009) for our Hat-Trick Initiative.  In 2014 our Hat-Trick Initiative is in place with 75 communities in 27 different countries.  Several of our current and past partner programs have also been short-listed for their efforts in various categories at the 2014 Beyond Sport Awards and we want to congratulate them and wish them the best of luck this weekend.

    Coaches Across Continents, Chevrolet FC, and Manchester United enjoyed the first weekend of play at the new Rumah Cemara Field

    Coaches Across Continents, Chevrolet FC, and Manchester United enjoyed the first weekend of play at the new Rumah Cemara Field

  • Corporate Social Responsibility Partnership, Tanzania

    photo-1February 26, 2014. It was Monday 17th of Feb 2014. I arrived at Benjamin Mkapa Secondary School and all the teachers asked me where is Brian Mingle Mingle? It is simple question to me, I answered that I am Impact coach from Tanzania country and CAC decided to choose me to represent in running this program and they believe one another teachers from your group will also be Impact coach.

    After few minutes of introduction why Tanzania got the opportunity to run this program for refresh day from the Group of Champions from Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania (SCB), Juanita Mramba represented SCB to open the refresh days in Dar [es Salaam]. She addressed more than 50 teachers, 10 champions from SCB and 7 coaches from Tanzania Football Federation who coach children in different clubs in Dar. They said SCB had their goal to reach 15,000 children at the end of this year. So the teachers are responsible to implement this knowledge back to their school.

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    I started our program by giving the chance to the teachers to review the games they learned last year. They remembered the games although they forget what we learned through those games. I am the one who tried to explain each game and how to connect what we learn to our daily life and address that CAC are using their curriculum to change the life of children through soccer. And I also explained that we are using females as the role models in order to empower females in our country. After two days in Dar, on the last day, CEO (Liz  Lloyd) from SCB came to see what is going on and participated in playing Mingle Mingle (see photo). At the closed celebration few champions, teachers and me, we got gifts for hard work during the training.

    I then went to Arusha to meet with 36 teachers. It was fantastic session because when I arrived in Arusha School, I saw the teachers had revised all the games themselves and explained what we learned in each game. Arusha is the best for the teachers to run this program. They are ready to run this program.

    When I was leaving Arusha at airport it happened one problem with Airport Official who wanted to know why our balls travel with air. So it took time to explain the types of balls [One World Futbols] but then they agree to carry my bag in the flight.

    Last I finished with 46 teachers in Mwanza, which also is very fun to me to run this program alone as Impact coach. I thank CAC and SCB to trust me as a Tanzania citizen to run this program on behalf of Coaches Across Continents.

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    Community Impact Coach, Nico Pota, who was part of our very first program in Kigoma, Tanzania in 2008, has been instrumental in every program we have run in the country during the last 6 years. Over the course of this week Nico ran refresher courses in three locations on behalf of SCB Tanzania and CAC. Sustainability in action. CSR in action. A beautiful partnership and an incredible role model and member of the CAC family. Thank you Nico!

  • 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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  • Futsal for Social Impact

    IMG_4168September 25, 2013. Coaches Brian Suskiewicz and Nora Dooley finished the GOAL program last week in Jakarta, Indonesia. After the first three days of training approximately 150 Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) employees in games from our GOAL curriculum, the CAC team set their sights on working with 400 junior high and high school students. SCB staff volunteered their time to coach the youth in CAC games over the course of three days. Not one of the employees had coached before meeting us on the pitch.  Yet when it was their turn to coach they impressed the CAC staff immensely, nailing their coaching points and imparting valuable social impact messages.

    The first day of implementation saw about 25 SCB volunteers coaching just shy of 100 junior high school learners. On two futsal pitches this was a very manageable number, and the first group of volunteer coaches were terrific. Brian and Nora found themselves doing much more managing and logistics and very little coaching! The second day was a bit more hectic as nearly 200 high school boys and girls streamed onto two small fields. The 35 SCB employees who coached the second day deserve an award for the way they handled this mass of adolescents. The third and final day of implementation was also Peace One Day, September 21st, and 98 more junior high school students joined 59 bank staff on just ONE futsal pitch. The CAC team had it under control, however, and a would-be chaotic day went very smoothly. In honor of Peace One Day Brian and Nora held a juggling competition, crowning one girl and one boy as champions.

    Reflecting on the overall program with CAC partner, SCB, training volunteer employees in about 13 games from the CAC and GOAL curriculum and welcoming nearly 400 students to Grand Futsal locations in Jakarta, the CAC team could not be more satisfied with the week. Three great groups of bank staff showed up physically and mentally for both their Train the Trainer day and their volunteer implementation day.IMG_6936 The CAC team is optimistic about the future with SCB and hopes these newly trained coaches will continue to pay it forward with youth from their community.  Already SCB has reached out to four local NGOs who are adopting our curriculum including the Helen Keller Foundation and Mitra Netra (visually impaired foundations), Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa (for underprivledged children), and the HIV Foundation.  SCB Indonesia is also looking into continuing more implementation at schools around Jakarta and throughout Indonesia.  Stay tuned for more from our GOAL program in partnership with Standard Chartered Bank. Until next year, Jakarta!

  • SCB + CAC = GOAL!

    IMG_6654September 19, 2013.  Over the past three days Brian Suskiewicz and Nora Dooley have been working with Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) in Jakarta, Indonesia. This marks the second year running the GOAL program in Jakarta, a CAC program championed by SCB to encourage youth to Be Healthy, Be Yourself, Be Empowered, and Be Money Savvy. CAC’s work with GOAL in Indonesia is part of a greater initiative with our valuable partners, SCB, in countries including Tanzania, Ghana, and India. The full program in Jakarta is six days, the first three marking the Train the Trainer portion with a total of 150 SCB employees, and the final three being the implementation with the employees and 400 youth from local schools in the city.

    IMG_2903The first half of this training has been amazing. Not one of the SCB volunteers has had coaching experience before this week, but they are learning 13 CAC games in a single day and having a blast with their colleagues and the CAC team.  This program has been different from other CAC trainings, as the coaches have only had one day to train each group of volunteers before they are expected to implement many GOAL games to large groups of adolescents. Yet every morning Brian and Nora were greeted with big smiles by a new batch of SCB employees, and every afternoon they left with bigger smiles, ready and eager to return over the next few days.

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    Two blind coaches play Postma Against HIV

    We also enjoyed having five people who came to training who are visually impaired.  Two of them worked for SCB while the other three were from the Blind Foundation.  They participated in the games and had a fantastic time.  The only difference in the training was the use of a ball with noisemakers inside so that they could hear the ball as it moved.  They are hoping to be able to bring the games back to their groups in order to use them in the future.

    The only downside of this program is that the CAC team would love to have more time to work with all these great people. Working with them for only one day before hordes of teenagers swarm the pitches of the Grand Futsal facility is simply too little. With the help of SCB staff, however, the CAC coaches are truly making each day count. Brian and Nora cannot wait to be part of the first coaching experiences for this energetic bunch of bank employees. 400 teenagers, here we go!

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