The Huffington Post: Zooming In For Newcomer Refugee and Immigrant Youth
Warshan (right) at a peaceful march in Baltimore during the 2015 protests
At Soccer Without Borders, we aim to build a more inclusive and peaceful world through soccer. We do this through holistic youth development programs that equip newcomer refugee and immigrant youth for success in America. This year has been an especially challenging year for us and for the youth we serve, as we grapple with the divisive rhetoric that has found its way to schoolyards, cafeterias, community streets, and even soccer fields.
In trying to unpack all of the layers, my mind often goes back to this analogy that Sarah Koenig used on the most recent season of Serial. In the first episode, she references the children’s book Zoom by Istvan Banyai. It’s a picture book with a single illustration on every page; the basic concept is that each time you flip the page, the perspective zooms out. So it begins with a picture of a rooster, and then you flip and see two children looking through a window at the rooster. Flip again and you learn that the children are on a farm, looking through a window at the rooster. Every few pages there is a twist. For example, the farm is actually a model in a toy store, and the toy store scene is actually on a stamp of a postcard. And so it continues, zooming out and changing what you thought you knew with each flip of the page.
As I think about the challenges we face as an organization and a society, I picture someone like Warshan, a graduate of Soccer Without Borders Baltimore, on the first page. His family fled violence in Iraq, leading to their permanent resettlement in Baltimore when Warshan was in middle school. Transition, language barriers, and an uncertain future are common threads in our participants’ stories.
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