Hi Family & Friends!
I hope everyone is doing well and that the weather is warming up in the States. Everything is going fabulously over in Cape Town, although I'm starting to grow a little homesick and am anxious to spend an amazing week in Shaker in June. Over the past few weeks I've been spending the majority of my time focusing on the Football for Hope Centre. The Centre has come so far since its opening in December 2009. The office is complete with desks, supplies, a whiteboard, a phone, internet, and several staff. I have been assisting in the day-to-day operational tasks at the Centre, as well as helping with programmes. I've recently been spending a lot of time working on Skillz Street, a soccer league for Grade 7 girls. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, 120 screaming girls come to the Centre after school to participate in a fun league that combines soccer and education. The girls are split into ten teams and each team plays soccer for one hour and then participates in some sort of educational activity for one hour. Two weeks ago the teams split up and visited one of three places - a soup kitchen, SANCA (a local drug and alcohol organization), or the Rape Crisis Centre.
This past week was especially crazy because we all started to realize the extent to which we are going to be busy during the World Cup. From 14 June to 9 July 2010, GRS is running 46 World Cup Skillz Holiday Programmes in seven of the nine South African provinces. Skillz Holiday Programmes provide a constructive, healthy environment for youth during the extended school holiday due to the World Cup. Castrol is funding the majority of the Holiday Programmes, but RED, Levi's, and Rio Tinto each have exciting plans for programmes as well. Each programme is expected to register 100 youth participants, so the Skillz Holiday Programmes will graduate approximately 4,600 South African youths in one month. Running from 8:30am to 3:00pm for five days, the programmes incorporate a fun, educational balance of soccer, HIV prevention and life skills activities. I'm not quite sure of my specific role in the Holiday Programmes, but I know that I will be swamped with work.
I'm currently spending my time recruiting and interviewing 20-25 new Skillz Coaches, helping to run programs at the FFH Centre, building partnerships with other organizations in Khayelitsha, interviewing candidates for a GRS Global position, preparing for an upcoming Training of Coaches, preparing for an upcoming World Cup Skillz Holiday Programme training, and working on an information page to supplement the current curriculum.
With the World Cup fast approaching we've been hosting several cool guests at the FFH Centre. Last week I had a chance to meet Edgar Davids, a famous Dutch soccer player. Here's a picture of a group of us at the Centre (Edgar in purple):