Everyone loves sports and everyone agrees that being on a sports team is a great way to learn teamwork and responsibility. L.A.C.E.S. believes combining sports and direct interaction with children and presentation of strong values and social skills is vital in helping children grow into strong adults who will make a positive impact on their country and on the world. To prove that theory, in 2013 the board at L.A.C.E.S. commissioned a year-long independent evaluation of the program’s effectiveness through data collected with well-known research tools such as the Rosenburg Self-Esteem Scale, Conflict Resolution Scale, MSOS and Individual interviews.
Key Findings – Quantitative Results
- Conflict Resolution: Statistical Significance — It was statistically significant that children in L.A.C.E.S. program improved in their ability to resolve conflict in a positive manner. These skills were evident after only six months with our program. This shows the vital role that sports can play in helping a society recover from the open wound of civil war and child soldiers.
- Social Skills: Gaining in areas — The program is designed to enhance social skills such as respect, teamwork, fair play and honesty, and the data collected indicates that children in the L.A.C.E.S. program are gaining in those areas.
- Coaches — During Individual Interviews with coaches, we learned that they needed more resources on how to mentor their children. In 2013 in partnership with the independent researcher, L.A.C.E.S. Liberia staff and L.A.C.E.S. founder, a new expanded curriculum was written to empower the coaches to be the best mentors possible.
Key Findings – Qualitative Results
Mentoring and learning the seven values are frequently mentioned as the most enjoyable parts of the program. Another child noted “I love L.A.C.E.S., L.A.C.E.S. teaches me about the future, trains me to be good in the community, to help my friends and community.”
- Influence — L.A.C.E.S. children tell a number of individuals about their experiences in the program, most often telling their friends and family members.
- Enjoyment — Mentoring and learning the seven values are the most enjoyable parts of L.A.C.E.S. with many interviewed listing this as their favorite aspect of the program.
- Self-Esteem — L.A.C.E.S. children reflect a higher incidence of self-esteem.
- Conflict Resolution — It was noted that when adults were not present to resolve conflicts, the older children resolved these arguments, indicating a positive trend toward nonviolent resolution.
- Personal Change — Interviewees noted their behavior had changed for the better since being involved with L.A.C.E.S., citing an increased respect for their parents and more care in choosing friends.
- Structure — Most participants joined L.A.C.E.S. for a mixture of playing football and learning values or learning how to become better people.