It started out as a simple weekend program where boys and young men got together to get coaching and learn to play soccer. In exchange, the boys and young men agreed to not join gangs, to respect themselves and each other and the members of the community. Once they had been in the program for several months, we heard that the boys had invented another agreement – that they were not there just to play soccer, but to learn to be leaders so they could create the future together.
That is why it’s called the CHEDEVE Soccer and LEADERSHIP Program. Because that’s what the community wanted, but more importantly, what the boys and young men wanted. Many of these boys do not go to school – their parents simply cannot afford the tuition. These are young people who need some pretty basic stuff like meals and shoes and a bright future. The soccer program is designed to address creating the brighter future, and inside of that, the chances for meals, shoes and school increases because what’s possible is a bigger vision.
Today, 90+ youth are engaged in this extraordinary program. If you would like to feel great and support them, go here==>
Having this program in the community of Fontamara has had some miraculous results. Some were expected, like that the guys who were in the program did not join gangs. We also expected that there would be an increased sense of security in the community because the boys/teens were not joining gangs, and that did happen. People are more hopeful about the future.
One result we did not expect is that, except for isolated incedents, the local gangs themselves actually have come to respect what they saw was happening in the community, and the gang activity decreased by a noticeable amount. This result was not anticipated. Another result that was not anticipated was the amazing spirit of volunteerism that came from members of the community.