Sports: an alternative activity for at-risk youth

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Six years ago Marlin Reyes was hired as a Spanish teacher at La Mariposa. Shortly after he was promoted as the principal Spanish teacher. He was promoted again as the environmental manager for La Mariposa. He also holds a board of director’s vice president position at Asociación Tierra. While managing his job and family, he always continued to support youth sports in San Juan de la Concepcion with time, attention and donations.

In 2011, Marlin and Nicaraguan colleagues began a lightening soccer league for girls and boys. They hosted short tournaments for various teams. In the beginning, there were a lot of little hiccups that made it difficult to play soccer. Children did not have any equipment, uniforms and nets. First, children had to take turns sharing shoes and balls (photo left). Second, a lot of balls would fly into the streets and cars would flatten them (photo right).

Marlin rallied local families to donate $5.00 or 100 Cordobas towards helping the soccer teams. La Mariposa students also volunteered their time to raise funds. In the end, they were able to raise $70 for goalie nets and $800 for fencing (photo left and upper right). The fence helped keep balls from going into the street. More importantly, the fence kept this space free from disturbances (photo bottom right). Children continued to play in the courts without fear of being pushed out by gangs or street vendors.

In addition, Marlin helped launch several youth baseball leagues in La Concha. These neighborhoods are very poor and often plagued by vandalism. Marlin and La Mariposa partnered in buying equipment and uniforms. As you can see below we were only able to purchase adult size umpire gear. Never fear, the show must go on! And the children played the best they could with adult-sized equipment.

We take our hats off to Marlin and his team for improving youth’s lives! Want to help? One time donations are welcomed. However, we are looking for lasting partnerships so these children can always receive mentorship from trusted community leaders in a safe place instead of turning to the streets. We will use the money to buy equipment locally, which boosts local economy, and ultimately reduces donations from getting held up in customs.

 

 

 

 

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