“GOALS doesn’t do charity. Our work is driven forward by the community’s needs and the community’s own contributions. This is aid dependency in reverse: in Destra, GOALS relies on the community to organize, support, complete, and then maintain projects. [GOALS’ work] is showing that we can improve the way people and organizations tackle development work, from soccer and gardening to toilets and houses.”
– Kona Shen, GOALS Founder & Director
Welcome to the fifth post in my holiday charitable giving guide.
Today, I’m proud to present GOALS Haiti, winner of the Beyond Sport Best New Project award in 2012.
In order to benefit from the GOALS soccer program, kids must contribute to the program and their community by engaging in all of our activities. This means that when kids come to our programs on any given day, they may wash their hands, help pick up trash, discuss what qualities leaders demonstrate and play soccer. What’s the best part? While kids are changing their lives and making a difference in their community, they’re having fun!
Their S-3 Model: Soccer, Community Service, and Educational Seminars:
- Soccer: All players on GOALS’ youth soccer teams participate in at least 8 hours of soccer practice per week, with at least two away games per month. All soccer players receive food and water when they attend practice. Programs include kids’ soccer summer camp, community events, and neighborhood soccer teams for girls and boys, aged 10-18 years old.
- Education: All participants on GOALS teams participate in a weekly workshop or class. Subjects include English as a Second Language, first aid skills, sexual health, and computer skills. GOALS also organizes public community meetings, which can serve as a platform to promote public health and answer related questions.
- Community Service: All players on GOALS soccer teams participate in two hours of community service weekly. Activities include litter control, planting and maintaining vegetable gardens, and conducting local development projects.
- Local Capacity Development: GOALS creates jobs for local residents and teaches professional skills. 18 of 19 staff members are Haitian and now work as coordinators in rural areas where they were born and raised. Open community meetings are held to promote on-the-ground ownership and transparency.
Need some inspiration? Read about GOALS Dream Team scholarship award winner Olsen:
Olsen is from Darbonne, a peri-urban area in Haiti which saw an influx of tent communities spring up after the earthquake of 2010, further stressing the already limited resources. Even before the earthquake, there was no electricity, no running water, and no place to shower or go to the toilet in private, and violence and theft are always a concern. Kids who live in Darbonne don’t even keep their cleats at home for fear of theft. Instead, they trust the coaches to lock them up and keep them safe.
Understandably, Olsen doesn’t like spending much time at home.
But at GOALS, Olsen has flourished. His leadership and commitment earned him a scholarship through GOALS Dream Team program, allowing him to return to school not long after the earthquake. In Haiti, education is not free, and many families cannot afford to pay tuition. Only 21% of the population ever attends high school, and even fewer graduate.
To show his appreciation for his Dream Team scholarship, Olsen is the first person to volunteer for special projects and to help out at GOALS. This past year, he volunteered to help make sure younger children in his neighborhood made it safely to and from the soccer field every day, and offered to referee soccer matches at a local primary school.
As a true testament to the GOALS program, which uses soccer in Haiti to foster youth development academically, socially and nutritionally, Olsen was recognized by his school for having the second highest grades in his class. This fall, Olsen entered his senior year. We can’t wait to sit in the front row to cheer for him at his graduation ceremony in June, just like we’ve cheered for him so many times on the football field.
GOALS Haiti is currently fundraising to build an education center in the rural village of Destra, where there is little commerce and no schools or churches. The GOALS education center will provide a safe space for all community activities, and bring new jobs, opportunities, new life and new hope to the community. Read more about the Destra Community Center project here.
Make a donation. All donations are tax-deductible.