BENEFITING: SOCCER WITHOUT BORDERS
Soccer Without Borders is an organization that inspires and assists youth by creating a safe and inclusive environment, allowing them to learn more about their minds, bodies, and voices. Their mission is to use soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing under-served youth with the skills to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success. Being part of a team is one of the best ways to grow as a person. I have been lucky enough to grow up in a community that allows girls and boys the same access to education and organized sports. Playing multiple sports and being on multiple teams has taught me how to be a leader, work with a team, communicate, respect others, and value hard work. However, the majority of young women and girls in other countries, such as Nicaragua, have been denied these opportunities. In Granada, Nicaragua, 28% of girls are pregnant by the age of 18, 52% do not complete primary school, and many are expected to raise younger siblings. Sports are a useful vehicle towards overcoming such challenges and becoming an educated and engaged member of the community. However, 90% of girls report barriers to participation with just 13% participating in some kind sport: formal or informal. The goal of SWB Nicaragua is to give girls the social, economic, and educational support necessary to inspire each girl to stay enrolled in school, make healthy choices, and take control of their future. By participating, girls earn points that can be exchanged for school supplies, clothes, shoes, toiletries, and soccer equipment. Soccer creates a safe and healthy living style, social circle, and self respect. It teaches vital skills that aid personal growth, such as confidence, friendship, communication. Empowering these girls through soccer and connecting them to tangible education and career opportunities can help break the cycle and reset the precedent for what is expected of girls in Nicaragua, and what they expect of themselves. I am excited to travel to Nicaragua this summer and be a part of a program that offers girls the same experiences that shaped my life and community. Soccer has always been a huge part of my life and now I am able to use it as a way of promoting positive change in the lives of young women and girls who have not been granted the same opportunities as me. If you have any questions about the trip or organization, please reach out to me at Olivia20siegel@gmail.com or visit Soccerwithoutborders.org. Any and all donations are greatly appreciated by me and Soccer Without Borders, but more importantly by the girls in Nicaragua.