• Soccer without Borders

In Case You Missed It: How Soccer Can Support Newcomer Afghan Youth



"Any activity that centers play and that helps a person feel a sense of belonging is going to be a source of joy and is going to be a comfort as one navigates a new place and processes how to leave home." Soccer Without Borders's Managing Director of Programs Lindsey Whitford kicked off our three-part virtual workshop series, How Soccer Can Support Newcomer Afghan Youth, with this powerful statement which set the tone for an engaging, enlightening, and action-oriented series of discussions.


This free, three-part series was created in partnership with Laureus Sport for Good's SportsLab and with support from the Center for Healing and Justice Through Sport (CHJS). It was designed for refugee service providers and resettlement agencies, community-based youth programs, soccer clubs and coaches, and anyone else who is interested in learning more about how sport can create belonging, particularly in times of transition and displacement.


Just in case you missed the sessions the first time around or, perhaps, you want to revisit them a second time, you will find all three workshop recordings in their entirety below.


WORKSHOP 1: PROGRAM DESIGNS FOR WELCOMING REFUGEE YOUTH

In this session, you will hear from Soccer Without Borders Founder Ben Gucciardi, Managing Director of Programs Lindsey Whitford and SWB Oakland Alums Asma and Haseen. In this kickoff session, they do not only provide an enlightening explanation of the basics of Afghan resettlement, but they also share their experiences of how the power of soccer has been a crucial tool to help overcome obstacles of growth, inclusion, and personal success.


WORKSHOP 2: BEST PRACTICES IN TRAUMA-INFORMED COACHING

The Center for Healing and Justice Through Sport's Megan Bartlett joined us for an engaging and educational second workshop session. This session included a discussion on what research can teach us about the brain science of trauma and how sport can play an important role in healing. This session provides a "crash course" on the brain and on stress, includes a discussion on the three elements of sport are uniquely suited to help kids heal, and shows the actions you can take to make sports healing.


WORKSHOP 3: INCLUSIVE TEAM AND PROGRAM CULTURE FOR AFGHAN ARRIVALS

In the final workshop in the series, the team was joined by SWB Boston Program Director Bruno Contreras, SWB Baltimore Program Manager Kat Sipes and Program Coordinator Ryan Gitonga for a discussion designed to provide you with a toolkit of actionable routines and activities. You will gain an understanding of how to create a welcoming program culture, you will learn the key components of the Soccer Without Borders model that help participants develop a sense of belonging, and you will learn inclusive coaching strategies and methods for coaching across cultures.



SWB FEATURED ON THE LAUREUS WEBSITE!

Laureus spoke with Soccer Without Borders’ Ben Gucciardi and Mary Connor on the opportunities and challenges for newcomers to the US and how soccer is supporting their resettlement.



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