Grenadian kids build confidence with soccer

Game on: Kids at the Queen Elizabeth Home for Children in Grenada, line up to kick a soccer ball during a soccer clinic on Oct. 9.
Reach Within

Grenada’s vulnerable children got to learn some sports and vital life lessons playing soccer at a two-day soccer clinic on Oct. 9-10.

Some 22 children of the Queen Elizabeth home learned about the game of soccer and building their confidence with sports. The children — all between 4–16 years old — live in the care home, and had a chance to experience competitive game play, said organizers.

“The experience was good and we had a good turnout,” said Jesse Jacob, a teen mentor for Reach Within who led the clinics. “We played two hard hours of soccer, and it was good to see how organized they played — they made it easy to organize times.”

Jacob is a member of BW Gottschee, a soccer club based in New York City. He came with equipment to donate, including six new soccer balls and goal nets. He said the children were very receptive to the game, and learned how to open up even with early apprehension.

“They were very energetic on the field and listened well — one of the best parts of the game,” he said.

Reach Within is a youth-focused charity based in Grenada. The organization was founded in 2008 with the mission to increase the livelihood of children and fight adversity that affects them. The soccer clinic was created to encourage activity and improve the mental strength required for sports, said the organization’s founder Dr. Karen Lawson.

“We were excited to put on this program to help build the kids’ pride and self-esteem,” said Lawson. “It is our hope they continue playing and that the skills they learn in the clinics will serve them well in life for many years to come.”

Having spent two weeks in Grenada in June for a home-building project for foster youth, Jacob said he decided to return after making some observations.

“When I went to Grenada in the summer, I noticed that a lot of the kids lacked certain life lessons, trust, and the reason why they’re in home,” said Jacob.

“We heard multiple stories about their confidence, and I thought that soccer could help build those traits.”

For two days, the kids played for two hours each day, gradually picking up the pace of the game, which he said will encourage him to return.

“I think soccer can help build key traits because in two days we saw better passing and I liked the results,” said Jacob. “We talk to the program director, and we’ll try to visit all the homes and hopefully more soccer clinics.”

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.
Competition time: The kids line up in two groups as they prepare to practice soccer.
Reach Within

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