With over one billion young people are currently experiencing a disruption in their ability to go to school and participate in extracurricular activities, the COVID-19 crisis will not only interrupt classroom learning, but will also create a sense of isolation that will spread more widely and quickly than the pandemic itself.
"When I first came to this country and I didn't speak English, the soccer field was the one place where I felt like I could express myself," explains SWB Baltimore Graduate and Alumni Council Leader Warshan Hussin. "I could just go take out my frustration and anger on the ball. My Soccer Without Borders team was a second family to me when I needed it. I think about so many of our participants right now who don't have that outlet, that place to go, and I just want to help however I can."
Soccer Without Borders has teamed up with America SCORES and peers from the sport-for-development sector to call for investment in creating belonging during a time of unprecedented youth isolation. The collaborative letter includes over 50 organizations who collectively serve hundreds of thousands of young people.
"During this uncertain time, difficult decisions need to be made about allocation of resources. We are already seeing a response targeting specific sectors, organizations, and businesses for support and relief. Too often, the voices of young people are not loud enough to be heard. Their losses aren’t easily quantified, and their unmet needs are invisible to the public eye.
BELONGING IS A BASIC HUMAN NEED. This is true for everyone, but it is especially true of our young people, who are still developing the mental resiliency skills they need to process the massive changes going on around us.
CREATING BELONGING IS OUR CORE PRODUCT. Belonging nourishes like food, it protects like Vitamin C, it washes away harm like soap, and it strengthens resiliency in a way that none of those other things can." READ AND SIGN THE FULL LETTER HERE
Soccer Without Borders programs have shifted into online and remote engagement, but we are very much still operational. We are reaching every one of our participants as best we can, keeping them connected to their coaches and teammates, and helping them to navigate access to resources like meals and critical information. We aim to keep our community of supporters updated on our programming and share how you can help us support youth living in vulnerable circumstances during this already-uncertain time.