Nearly 10 years ago, Soccer Without Borders was born out of Ben's vision for an alternative educational space where the interpersonal environment was safe, compassionate, and influential enough to address the most pressing challenges facing marginalized youth. He thought that a soccer team, as one of the world's few universal languages, could become that space. As a passionate soccer player and coach, Ben was determined to construct a program in which this natural platform could be leveraged for uncommon outcomes with newcomer refugee and immigrant youth in the Bay Area, where he grew up. Since then the SWB model has been implemented in 8 U.S. cities, with tremendous success, including a 95% high school graduation rate in Oakland, with Ben at the helm.
On Thursday, June 25, on the heels of World Refugee Day, Ben was honored at the White House as a Champion of Change for refugee youth. In youth-serving organizations, it is the direct influencers, the coaches, who are the true changemakers. As the Founder of SWB and a dedicated coach and mentor, Ben has not only impacted refugee youth in his home community of Oakland, but has created a ripple effect that has reach thousands more across the country and the world. Please join us in celebrating World Refugee Day and Ben's incredible commitment to building community, home and pathways for refugee youth.
Read the release here by Ben Gucciardi on the White House blog