There is a lot of advice out there on how to engage this next generation of outspoken, tech-savvy, socially-conscious young people. For me as a child of the early 80’s, I have prided myself in having learned to do things “the hard way,” fervently ignoring the fact that my birth year hangs right on the cusp of that millennial generation mark. As my life became increasingly enveloped by smart tech, at first, I felt denial: “But I own an atlas!” Then, shame: “I swear I have never used a selfie stick.” Then anger: “This is ridiculous, I’m not even on Snapchat!” In my work with Soccer Without Borders, I worried that the world of sound-bites and social media had reduced the concept of making a difference to liking and re-tweeting. It turns out, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
As a non-profit organization that uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change in the United States and abroad, young people are at the center of our universe. Everything we do is directed at the goal of equipping under-served youth with the skills and support they need to reach their goals, on and off the field. In an effort to serve some of the world’s most vulnerable youth, we are committed to providing programs free of cost, meaning that we rely on generosity, creativity, and plenty of sweat equity to operate effectively. Along the way, we have met thousands of people who believe in this mission, many of whom can point to their experiences in sport as life-changing.
What if you could harness that love of sport, that desire to get active, and channel it into tangible, impactful ways to give back? Even better, what if you could mobilize the next generation, the most globally connected generation in history, in that effort? It turns out, there is an organization that does just that: Positive Tracks.
Positive Tracks helps young people- defined as 23 and under- get active and give back using the power of sport. Through Positive Tracks, last year 9,057 young people raised $917,712 through 47,640 miles of sweat on behalf of 12 organizations.
At Soccer Without Borders, we channel these efforts through what we call the “Ambassador Program.” The Ambassador Program provides the structure through which young people (and the young at heart!) mix their creativity, generosity, persistence, and passion to raise funds to support the SWB mission. What does that look like? It’s the Skidmore Men’s and Women’s Soccer Teams volunteering their time to lead a donation-based soccer camp, raising more than $5,000 annually for SWB Uganda. It’s the 2014 national champion UCLA women’s soccer team hosting a post-game skills clinic for local youth, raising over $3,000 to support under-served girls. It’s two rivals, Bethesda Chevy Chase and Walt Whitman High Schools, converting their competition into more than $3,000 for SWB youth. It’s the Pomona-Pitzer women’s soccer taking pledges for every goal and save throughout the season to generate over $2,300, fueling the launch of the only league for girls in Granada, Nicaragua.
And it’s not just teams that are getting active. Ten year old Esteban asked for donations to SWB in lieu of presents for his 10th birthday, raising over $500. Lindsey Keare, a student at Dartmouth, rallied four friends to run the Covered Bridges Half Marathon for SWB, raising $2,500. James Valencia leads the SWB Club at the Polytechnic school to host multiple fundraising events throughout the school year and even the summer.
In fact, 44 Ambassadors from 14 different states invested 1,120 hours playing, coaching, and sweating for change in 2015, crushing the $20,000 Positive Tracks challenge grant by raising more than $35,000 for SWB programs. From camps, to tournaments, to game days, to half marathons, and more, these Ambassadors demonstrated incredible passion, leadership, and persistence in every event.
We look forward to another standout year of partnership in 2016, with a goal of expanding to 75 Ambassadors and hitting the $50,000 mark, a new milestone. YOU CAN HELP! If you are 23 and want to become an Ambassador, check out the page and fill out the short interest form. If you believe, as we do, that our Ambassadors can reach the $50,000 mark and want to make sure that every single one of their dollars is matched, consider a contribution to increase the challenge grant.
Many thanks to all of our 2015 Ambassadors and those who are already playing, coaching, and sweating for change in 2016. A big shout out to Positive Tracks for inspiring more than 30,000 young people to get active and give back to their charity partners since 2010. We are proud to be a part of such an inspired community of charity partners
About Soccer Without Borders:
Soccer Without Borders uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change in the U.S. and abroad. Its year-round programs take a whole-person approach to youth development through sport, providing underserved youth with a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion and personal success. Now in its tenth year, SWB has led programs and collaborations in ten countries on five continents, and is best known for its work with newcomer refugee, asylee, and immigrant youth as well as engaging girls of all cultural backgrounds.
Contact: Mary McVeigh, Executive Director and Co-Founder, email@example.com
About Positive Tracks
Positive Tracks is a sports-based youth development organization that helps young people get active and give back. So youth can sweat for good to make the world better, starting with themselves. We engage young people ages 23 and under (U23) through our Charity Partner Program, Positive Tracks Challenges and Camps, and thought leadership initiatives. By the end of 2016, we'll help 42,000+ youth turn 244,000+ miles of movement into $7,800,000+ for causes that shape their communities and world
Contact Founder: Nini Meyer, firstname.lastname@example.org