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What: ESPN has built and dedicated a multifunctional sports space in Xochimilco, Mexico.
Why it matters: This home to programs that teach young people employability skills through sports is an example of how sports and soccer can change the world, with the help of corporate partners.

via ESPN

Sports in general, and soccer in particular, as a catalyst for good across the globe is not a new concept. For years, organizations like Laureus (@LaureusSport), openingboundaries (@OB_0fficialand many others have found ways to use sport to benefit youth in tangible ways. Sometimes it’s as simple as having equipment and safe places to play that can change lives.

In that spirit, ESPN (@espn), which has a strong presence in Latin America (@ESPNmxand among Spanish speakers in the U.S., teamed with community leaders in Xochimilco, Mexico City, earlier this month to launch the construction of a new sports court as part of its global project, which includes six such multifunctional units across Latin America and one in India.

The Xochimilco safe space is an opportunity for young people to use sport to find their way in life and also to provide training for future employment.
courtesy Beyond Sport

The goal, per community leaders and ESPN personnel, is to help youngsters by using the refurbished court to hold job skills and other programs via A Ganar (@A_Ganar), a Latin American and Caribbean based organization which has targeted 16-24 year olds in fighting the problems of youth unemployment in nearly 20 countries for more than a decade.

“At ESPN we believe that sport has the ability to transform lives, and we are committed to providing resources to enable kids in Mexico City to play sports,” said Russell Wolff, executive vice president and managing director, ESPN International, in a statement. “This is our second safe space in Mexico City and we are pleased to collaborate with love.fútbol, A Ganar, Beyond Sport, and Street Soccer Mexico once again to build this court in a community where there is a need, as it can truly make a difference.”

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“As with our first build together in Chimalhuacán, our goal is to improve the quality of life of marginalized youth and vulnerable communities in Mexico. The Xochimilco safe space is an opportunity for young people to use sport to find their way in life and also to provide training for future employment,” added Daniel Copto, CEO and President, Street Soccer México.

Programs like this are vital, especially on a continuing basis. Empowering local residents to continue the push is key. The Xochimilco launch event, hosted by ESPN broadcasters Miroslava Montemayor and Sergio Dipp, brought the community together for a celebration, with the Santiaguito location chosen based largely on need, in conjunction with community facility specialist love.fútbol.

ESPN had previously announced a similar space in Bogota, Colombia, in April , following previous ESPN safe space initiatives in Mexico City, Mexico; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil.

Cover Image via beyondsport.org

What: Laureus USA is teaming up with NIKE to Launch Sport For Good New York City.
Why it matters: The commitment of these two global brands will help improve the lives of underserved youth, including a vibrant Latino population in NYC, through the power of sport.

Keeping young Latinos active in sport, and getting brands involved in the process, is a challenge and a growing priority across the United States. As the population ages and things like eSports get more traction, the worry of obesity becomes an even bigger challenge.

One of the groups trying to meet that challenge head on is Laureus USA (@Laureus_USA), which, in conjunction with Nike (@nike) announced the launch of Sport for Good New York City (S4G NYC), a long-term commitment to improving the lives of underserved youth in the five boroughs of New York City through the power of sport. It is the first of a national series Laureus USA is putting on, with the goal to activate in over 20 cities and reach millions of young people, the core of which are Latinos and other minorities.

By bringing together nonprofit leaders, providing resources and facilitating collaboration at the local level, Sport for Good New York City will ensure more children and youth have access to high quality, youth-centered sports programs. To support the launch of S4G NYC, Laureus USA, awarded grants to eight local nonprofit organizations that use sport or physical activity to empower local youth. Olympic legend Edwin Moses helped kick off the initiative with kids from I Challenge Myself, one of the New York City grant recipients.

“Latinos are the fastest growing population in the United States, but inequities contribute to a higher obesity rate among Latino children than among Caucasian children,” said Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, CEO of Laureus USA and Olympic Gold Medalist in Track and Field. “Sport for Good seeks to provide all children with safe, accessible opportunities to play sports, keep fit and be a part of a healthy community. We kicked off Sport for Good NYC this week with two of our eight NYC grantees, South Bronx United and I Challenge Myself, both of which are geared towards Latino youth. ICM operates predominately in Washington Heights and SBU serves majority Latino youth.”

Key to the success is corporate involvement, and bringing Nike on board shows not just the viability of the program as a whole, it makes the results tangible for the young people involved.

Latinos to Benefit Greatly From the Program

Nationally, 40% of the youth Laureus impacts are Latino. Their star studded lineup of ambassadors includes Raul Gonzalez Blanco, Luis Figo, Hugo Porta, Cafu and Emerson Fittipaldi.

Key to the success is corporate involvement, and bringing Nike on board shows not just the viability of the program as a whole, it makes the results tangible for the young people involved. Nike’s three-year commitment to Laureus USA for S4G NYC will support participating organizations with access to knowledge, trainings and funding. “Nike is committed to getting kids moving around the world, and we’ve been helping to get kids in NYC moving for more than a decade,” added Caitlin Morris, General Manager of Nike Global Community Impact. “We know kids are made to play and when they do, they have the potential to do better in every aspect of their lives. We’re excited to be partnering with Laureus USA to launch Sport for Good New York City and extending these benefits to even more kids through a diverse range of organizations across the city who share our commitment.”

“Having a brand like Nike involved brings more visibility and funding to the needs of inner city youth,” Mosely added. “Kids also get more excited to be involved with the project. Nike has a wealth of resources that Laureus and Sport for Good NYC will now be able to tap into and we are grateful for their generous support and involvement.”

While the Nike/Laureus USA partnership is just a start in the much needed engagement of young people and healthy lifestyle, it is a great start, as it ties together many of the key pieces needed for effective sports cause marketing: a massive lifestyle brand, celebrity athletes, large numbers of effected youth, and the growing demo of Latinos, who still remain underutilized in the sports space.

New York was a solid kickoff, creating a quality environment and a memorable day for all. The bar is now set for growth across the US, with Nike the first of many joining the team for this crucial mission with Latino youth.