Soccer for a dozen

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Over the past year, Willie and I have started helping local charities in the cities we visit through Willie’s non-profit, the “Where is Willie Foundation.” We’ve focused our recent efforts on helping young children in poor neigborhoods, as we feel this can make the most positive impact on their future and the world they live in day-to-day.

In November 2015 we connected with a non-profit organization named “El Divino Niño” in a poor neighbourhood named Barrio Castilla in Medellin, Colombia. We were looking to organize a trip to a soccer game for a dozen of the children they took care of. None of the boys had ever been to a live game before and, with soccer being the most popular sport in Colombia, it truly made for a day they would never forget.

The organization’s purpose was to take care of children before and after school hours, keeping them off the streets and giving them a chance for a better life. They would arrive in the morning, where they would receive breakfast, a snack and help with their homework. They would then take their lunch and go to school. After school, they would return to the foundation where they were taught about positive values like love and appreciation, then receive dinner.

Families pay $30,000 Colombian Pesos a month for each child (~$10USD). This includes meals, uniforms, classes and the company of people that care for them. Over the long term, this program will guide them to uphold positive values and complete their education so they can leave the poor neighborhoods they live in and have a better life.

The organization was founded and run by a man named Jesus Hogar who, for over 20 years, had devoted his life to bettering the lives of children in the poor neighborhoods of Medellin. Meeting Jesus was an inspiration for me. On the day of the game, he recalled a story of how he would bring the boys to the stadium to walk around the outside. They always asked if they could go in, but he told them that there was not enough money to do so. What an amazing gift we were able to provide!

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