International Women’s day!

L.A.C.E.S.  celebrated International Women’s day!

Fact: Females makes up  50% of the children and coaches in  L.A.C.E.S. program.

As we celebrate international Women’s day on March 8, 2015 , we recognized the work of our female coaches on being a positive role model to our children.Watch this video and meet the women of L.A.C.E.S. who are empowered to change the future of Liberia.

 

 

Give Thanks from our family to yours!

Thank you for making 18,000 meals possible every year.

Each year because of your support L.A.C.E.S. is able to provide 18,000 meals to children who would normally not receive one meal per day. As part of L.A.C.E.S. program each child receives a nutritious meal after every game to help replace  calories lost on the field and the child has the security knowing they will eat that day. Both teams will together after the game for meal that strengthens the relationship with in themselves and their coaches.

As you sit around your thanksgiving table this year know that you have provided not only for your family, but for hundreds of others today. Watch this video from L.A.C.E.S. Liberia.

Thank you from the L.A.C.E.S. family to yours!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Power of Play Film

In 1989, Liberia entered a 14 year civil war. Liberia’s civil war became one of the most notorious conflicts for its use and abuse of child soldiers. Over 15,000 children as young as 6 fought in the war, and were forced to commit some of the most heinous crimes.

The Power of Play will let you be a part of the construction of a better future for Liberian Children. Through personal stories you will experience how a once war- torn country is being transformed through the power of sports.

“We believe that war will not come to this country, again.”
Pastor Roberts, Liberia, 2014

From a life of wickedness to gratitude

The struggles of Liberia’s youth are myriad, one of which is the overwhelming amount of children living on the street. Years of civil war and subsequent lack of family and community structure has led to a void of role models in children’s lives. As a result, they are easily drawn to a life of “wickedness,” as discussed by L.A.C.E.S. player Alex Tarr in his video testimony that can be viewed on our website.

When he was seven years old, Alex spent most of his time in the ghetto, sleeping on the streets, stealing money for drugs, smoking, and drinking. He resisted participating in the L.A.C.E.S. program at first, but now enthusiastically quotes Bible verses and expresses his gratitude for the opportunity to play soccer. Alex’s new outlook on life is appreciated throughout the entire community as well; Pastor Charlie, the Community Coordinator for L.A.C.E.S. in Cotton Tree, Liberia praises Alex’s transformation and is grateful that L.A.C.E.S. was able to change his life. This is just one of many stories illustrating how our program has touched and completely redirected the life of a misdirected child; we continue to work to improve the lives of Liberian youth and create leaders for the future.

Beyond Sport Award Shortlist Announcement

We are excited to announce that we have been shortlisted for the Beyond Sport “Sport for Conflict Resolution Award.” The three shortlisted entries, including ours, will go before the Beyond Sport Judging Panel of Ambassadors, including Tony Blair, Desmond Tutu, Michael Johnson, and other influential people in our field, who will choose the winner.

In addition to national / global recognition and an invitation to the Beyond Sport Summit 2013 in Philadelphia, the winner of this esteemed award will receive $10,000.

In celebration of our nomination, we are in the midst of a summer matching campaign, “Celebrate the Award, Double the Impact!” Through August 31, we are looking to raise $10,000. The winner of the Beyond Sport Award will be announced on September 11th.

Coaches Training

For the first time in my life, I traveled to East Africa. Recently, I decided to take a week of vacation and spend it traveling with my husband to see the work he does  with microfinance institutions in East Africa. While traveling with my husband, an amazing opportunity presented itself and I took it! I was given the chance to train a group of coaches from Burundi and Congo, all of whom are part of an organization called Pour le Sauvetage de Vulnerable. They work with orphans and vulnerable youth in an area that was devastated by Burundi’s civil war and with children in Congo, Burundi’s neighboring country that is currently experiencing a civil war.

Both L.A.C.E.S. and Coalition Pour le Sauvetage de Vulnerable believe that youth are the key to the future of these countries devastated by war, and that sports is a highly effective way to reach youth. With similar philosophies, it seemed like a natural fit to invest in these coaches and share the L.A.C.E.S. model to further the organization’s mission.

It had been almost three years since I had had the chance to conduct a coaches training and therefore was greatly looking forward to the workshop. I spent the day with 23 eager men and women who shared ideas and performed skits in order to discuss how to positively impact the future of their country while playing a sport they love.

Not only was it my first time in East Africa, it was also the first time I have conducted a workshop that was translated into three different languages: Swahili, French and Kirundi. I hope I sounded smart in all three languages!

Since our time was short, I chose two major topics to engage the coaches. These were effective coaching styles and positive discipline. The feedback I received from the attendees was inspiring. One attendee, when asked what he had learned through the workshop replied “We…learned how to be a good example for those we lead.”

Another individual added that “humility is important for a good coach” when asked what he was taking from the workshop.

While our time was short, I hope that what we were able to share will make a difference in the lives of youth in both Burundi and Congo. While Burundi is currently experiencing peace, many of the youth in the Congo have only known war. I hope you will pray along with us for peace in the Congo and continued peace in Burundi.

Blessings,
Seren

Training for a New Season

L.A.C.E.S.’s programs began last month. With each new season, there are more children, new staff, and exciting challenges. Training is an essential component of each new season, since it allows new coaches—who are all volunteers—to learn from current staff and mentors about the organization and how to implement L.A.C.E.S.’s philosophy.

The volunteers receive training in both mentoring and coaching. The technical team, comprised of the National Director and the Mentoring Manager, is responsible for conducting a three-day workshop. The workshop is designed to introduce all the new coaches to the program activities and provide the mentors who have previously volunteered with the organization a chance to refresh their minds.

The workshops focus on several different aspects of coaching and mentoring. One of these teaches coaches how to reach out to children who are living on the streets and who have endured difficult upbringings. L.A.C.E.S. staff stresses the idea of becoming a role model to the children in our programs. Of course, the volunteers are also learning ways to help children improve their soccer and kickball skills.

“With the power of soccer, they learn to accomplish positive change in the lives of children both in the homes and in public,” James Moore, the National Director of L.A.C.E.S. said. “In short [the coaches] are learning to raise positive role models in their communities,” he added.

The workshops are also a place for interaction and discussion, which the majority of the coaches seem to enjoy since it provides time to discuss everything that is being taught.

Hanna Nuah is a female graduate of the L.A.C.E.S. Program. She is now serving as a coach for the team she once played for. “Now that I am a coach, I look forward working with my team (Christ The King) in making it the most disciplined…at L.A.C.E.S. The children are my friends and together we will make our community a better place,” she said.