In today's busy world, it is a rare gift when families and communities come together as neighbors. As a Dartmouth Women's Soccer alumnae, I was honored to be welcomed back to the Upper Valley community on Sunday, and to have had Dartmouth's support in bringing people together under the banner of Soccer Without Borders.
After an exciting match between Dartmouth and Vermont, over 80 youth participants from 8 different towns in New Hampshire and Vermont participated in a post-game clinic led by SWB and Dartmouth staff and players. The clinic aimed to raise awareness of Soccer Without Borders' mission to provide under-served youth with a toolkit for growth, inclusion, and personal success.
In particular, the day focused on raising awareness of SWB's USA programs, which serve refugee, asylee, and immigrant youth ages 7-20 from more than 45 countries of origin, 70% of whom are refugees. The clinic context was timely; the heartbreaking refugee crisis in Europe has led to an outpouring of support and attention from the global soccer community. While we may not be able to welcome Syrians to the Upper Valley just yet, there are hundreds of thousands of refugees already living in the United States who have fled similarly tragic circumstances in hopes of a better future. With 1 in 122 people in the world displaced, the future health of our communities will depend upon our ability to build bridges across divides, creating pathways for newcomers to contribute. In that spirit, thank you to everyone who came out to the game and clinic, celebrating community and demonstrating the unifying power of soccer.