San Jose Youth Sports League
Project Launch:Prior to working in partnership with World Connect, there was no afterschool programming for the youth of San Jose in Belize, and many youth would aimlessly wander the streets. World Connect’s Kids to Kids Program awarded a $435 grant to establish the San Jose Youth Sports League in 2009, with a soccer team for boys and a volleyball team for girls. The attitudes of boys and girls in the village quickly improved as the boys who participated in the soccer program learned the importance of cooperation and are now seen on the field passing the ball and working together more. The girls’ volleyball team progressed also -- once timid girls are now calling for the ball and speaking up on the court, demonstrating new confidence and teamwork skills. Project leaders report that afterschool athletes have helped create a happier and more loving community as participating youth bring their new skills from the playing field home and play with their younger siblings and family members, sharing their newfound skills broadly. This project provided participating youth with healthy physical activity while spreading the value of cooperation and dedication throughout San Jose. Many other areas such as Santa Cruz, Santa Elena, and San Antonio developed their own leagues so all can play together. Games are held on the weekends and as time progresses and the skills of the players improve, the students can host or enter into tournaments as a way of fundraising for their new league.
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