ESPN and A Ganar Team Up, Launch Safe Spaces for Youth in Argentina and Brazil

ESPN has teamed up with A Ganar, love.fútbol and, and local community partners INATOS and UASI, to build two new multifunctional sport courts in the communities of Dos Macacos in Rio De Janeiro and La Cava in Buenos Aires, each of which will be unveiled on April 30 and May 24, respectively.

The communities, carefully selected based on need, population and socio-economic status, will see sport opportunities renewed by the addition of these safe spaces. Dos Macacos, where the space in Rio de Janeiro is being built, has a population of nearly 15,000 and has some of the lowest rankings in the city for income and education.  La Cava, is one of the largest and most economically disadvantaged areas in greater Buenos Aires, with a prevalence of crime, drugs, alcohol, violence and firearms use.

Once the sport spaces are built, ESPN will provide support to A Ganar, Partners of the Americas’ award-winning sport-for-development program that combats youth unemployment in Latin America and the Caribbean using team sports. At-risk youth, ages 16- 24, acquire marketable job expertise by building on six core sport-based skills: teamwork, communication, discipline, respect, a focus on results, and continual self-improvement. In 7-9 months, youth learn life and vocational skills and complete internships with local businesses. They learn to bring the best values of sport and apply them to the workplace.

“Before Vencedoras, (A Ganar in Portuguese), I was totally unprepared for a job,” 17-year-old A Ganar participant Fernanda said. “Today I know how to dress for a job interview, how to behave properly at work, how to take pride in my work, and respect my co-workers. I know that life will present me with many challenges, but I am strong and prepared.”

A Ganar will deliver programming on both sites for the next year with the objective of empowering young people and providing them with opportunities and pathways to work through the power of soccer.

“We are honoured to collaborate with ESPN in order to bring our A Ganar youth workforce development program to Rio and Buenos Aires," Partners of the Americas' President and CEO Steve Vetter said. "At Partners, we believe in the power of sport to change lives and have already seen that impact in the success of 15,000+ youth throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.”

love.futbol, which builds community sports facilities all over the world, worked closely with local municipalities, as well as UASI in Buenos Aires and INATOS in Rio de Janeiro to engage the surrounding community to create a true sense of ownership of the space, enabling on going sustainable and impactful use. Volunteers from the local community, as well as ESPN employees, helped build the spaces themselves.

 “At ESPN, we recognize the important role sports play in developing life skills, from enhancing economic opportunities to improving employability,” said Kevin Martinez, vice president of ESPN Corporate Citizenship. “We’re proud to team up with love.fútbol and A Ganar to ensure that people in these communities have access to a safe, accessible place to play sports. This effort is part of our larger strategy of using the power of sports to ENSPIRE social change.”

Click here to read the full press release.

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