Football 4 Life (F4L) aims to create social societal transformation by developing the boys in our community into moral and spiritual leaders. We will educate, inform, and strengthen our young people through the beautiful game of football, which we believe to be a teaching tool for many areas of life. Our program incorporates faith, community, sports, education, and virtue-based character formation that instills our youth with a sense of their own dignity.
Our pilot program will target boys between the ages of seven and thirteen-years-old. These boys in particular are in a pivotal moment in their lives—a time when many young Belizean youths become targets of gang culture and fall prey to gang activity in their neighborhoods. F4L wants to provide these young men with an antidote – a community-based alternative to gang life by creating a safe, fun, engaging environment in which they can become the men God created them to be
We will provide after-school programming for our youth. They will be organized into teams with their peers. Apart from football training and practice, they will also receive tutoring and help with their schoolwork, and they will be paired with a “big brother,” a man of faith and virtue who will provide positive male role-modeling and empower our young men to become leaders.
Need for Change
As we stated, the boys in our community are facing a critical time in their lives. A recent study titled the Belize City Community Gang Assessment, conducted by the Inter- American Development Bank, found the average age of initial gang-involvement of their interviewees was 14.5 years of age.
The majority of the gang-involved interviewees said they joined between the ages of 13 and 16. The Three top reasons reported for joining a gang was to feel safe, to make money, and to get revenge for violence suffered against a friend or family member.
That study found that all of the people they interviewed, including youth, gang-related individuals, parents, and community leaders described lack of access to the following:
- Lack of educational programs and settings appropriate to the needs of high-risk youth
- Lack of enrichment or recreational programming
- Lack of family programming for youth with serious family risk factors
Our organization will respond to this lack of access by providing mentoring and tutoring to youth in need of help with their schoolwork. We believe this will best be accomplished by using football as an organizational and motivating factor for our youth. This will not only provide extra incentive to get their schoolwork done, but it will provide an encouraging team-based environment for our youth to give their energy.
We also believe that our faith-based approach provides a framework to a youth that they can carry with them the rest of their lives, as well as a worldwide support network in the Church.
Furthermore, our program will feed the children at the location of their afterschool program. Our goal is to provide a snack and water upon arrival after school. Then after tutoring and practice, we will provide one meal for the kids before they go home.
Our needs can be divided into three categories: food, sports, and extracurriculars. A breakdown of our costs are as follows:
- Food: We will provide afterschool snacks and meals each day of our afterschool program is in session (3X / week and Saturday games). We also hope to provide grocery assistance, what we call the “Breaking Bread Basket” to families (a cost of US 100.00 /monthly per family).
- Sports: There will be upfront costs for each player involved. F4L will provide jersey, shorts, football boots, and a water bottle. We will also need to purchase soccer balls (one / player) and other field equipment (e.g., cones, practice bibs, etc.).
- Extracurriculars: We will foster community through extracurricular events such as a monthly pizza party to celebrate birthdays, as well as opportunities for field trips and spiritual retreats on weekends at various times throughout the year.
Our hope is that benefactors commit to 100 USD per month. That will be enough for us to cover costs of food, sports and extracurriculars.
In addition to forming our young men to love and excel in the game of football, we also aim to provide the following programs:
- Mentoring: each player will have one “big brother,” a positive male role model from their local community who can help provide encouragement, guidance, and support.
- Tutoring and Academic Assistance: Our players will receive tutoring from local high school students. Many high schools have volunteer service hours as a requirement for students. F4L will draw on those requirements in order to provide our program players the academic support on a weekly basis.
Service Leadership Opportunities: We aim to form future leaders in our community. A
- fundamental aspect of that is learning how to be a “servant leader.” F4L will provide opportunities to our players to engage in volunteer work throughout the year.
- Character and Etiquette Formation: The Belize Defense Force and the Belize Police Department have agreed to partner with the program and will be providing lessons in character formation. We will form men who are respectful, disciplined, and generous.
- Chess, Taekwondo, and more: F4L aims to create well-rounded young men. That means we want to form characters, minds, and hearts. Local experts in Belize will provide classes and lessons in chess, taekwondo and more.
We invite you to partner with us in working to transform the young men in our community from boys into peace ambassadors, spiritual leaders and nation builders