Soccer Without Borders was recently awarded $20,000 of grant funding by the Colorado COVID Relief Fund to help support newcomer youth in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Soccer Without Borders’ mission is to use soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing newcomer refugee and immigrant youth with a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success. The COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders have exposed newcomer youth to increased social isolation, physical and mental health risks, and decreased academic and social support. Soccer Without Borders has responded with a campaign to Create Belonging, releasing a Call to Address Youth Isolation, and adapting programming to ensure that newcomer youth feel a sense of belonging and community, and that their unique needs are supported through this pandemic.
“Soccer Without Borders Colorado is thrilled to receive this grant award, which will support our continued programming with refugee and immigrant youth in the Denver Metropolitan area and Weld County,” said SWB Colorado Director Casey Thomas. “Newcomer youth are disproportionately vulnerable to harms resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, facing increased social isolation and learning losses with schools closed. Our summer program will prevent compounding learning loss while keeping newcomer youth connected, engaged, and supported over the summer.”
At Soccer Without Borders, we’re seeing firsthand how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the barriers newcomer youth face, increasing social isolation that is already experienced by refugee and immigrant youth, compounding the language barrier for students with limited English proficiency as they attempt to engage in virtual learning, and marginalizing under-resourced communities and families who do not have access to the tools and technology necessary to engage in virtual learning. Funding from the Colorado COVID Relief Fund will allow SWB to provide our newcomer participants with summer programming that will integrate English language development, physical activity, wellness modules, and social connection.