By: Cat Webster, Team Leader
Back to school is always an exciting time, and as schools opened up their doors last week, FSF Granada had even more to celebrate. Fourteen girls from the Mariposa Seniors, Estrellas, and FC Sweet Lake were selected in the first class of secondary school scholarship recipients. The selected girls are provided with a package of school supplies and uniforms, monthly tuition, and an advisor with whom they will meet twice weekly. The tuition payment also makes it possible for girls to switch schools, even to private schools or morning classes, freeing them up to participate further in SWB activities.
What's more, the benefits of this program extend past the fourteen participants selected. All girls will be able to trade attendance points for school supplies and uniforms in addition to soccer equipment. They will also have access to specific homework hours in our office, which provides access to computers, internet, and additional school and art supplies. While scholarships are currently offered only to girls in secondary school, the younger teams are aware and excited about the program as well, and are eager to earn their "beca" in the future.
The education program has been in the imagination and planning phase for several years, but was only recently brought to life by an incredibly generous donation. Program leadership collaborated to identify the issues that girls struggle against when trying to stay in school, and researched other local and international scholarship programs to see how the program can effectively combat these issues. They used their local contacts to find the best way to go about uniform selection and tuition payment, and worked together to distribute applications, hold parent meetings, and select the best participants. The scholarship criteria focused both on the participant’s economic need and on her qualities as an “active and complete participant” in FSF- dedicated, humble, honest, and hardworking (among many others).
Mariposa Sr. coach Cesar Morales begins a new role as Education Program Coordinator. Coaches Hassell Chavez and Helen Ramirez will serve as the advisors to scholarship recipients. Each will meet with seven becadas (scholarship recipients) weekly, and will provide homework assistance and counseling on potential school issues. Their unique position as former participants turned coaches will help them to be strong role models for the girls, and we look forward to watching them grow in this role. Finally, Coach Estefan Bolanos will lead the uniform and school supply exchanges, and all coaches will play a role in raising awareness about the program as well as selecting future recipients.
This program represents Soccer Without Borders’ increased focus on our participants’ growth as students as well as citizens and soccer players and we are so grateful for the opportunity to deepen our educational impact, while playing a larger role in supporting academic success!
"As an adult, I want to be a pediatrician and with education I want to acquire knowledge, habits, and skills that will allow me to develop into a more comprehensive person." - Michelle (Sweet Lake), 12 years old, Grade 8vo