Community leaders, residents, government officials and special guests gathered in Morro dos Macacos, Rio de Janeiro, on Saturday to participate in the opening of a new multifunctional sport court dedicated to the local community and its residents. The global project was led by ESPN and community organizations love.fútbol, A Ganar, and INATOS.
Hosted by ESPN Brasil talent, Juliana Veiga and Gustavo Hofman, the event included cultural performances by local kids and samba schools, as well as special recognition of community members who volunteered their time to the project.
Partners of the Americas, an international non-profit that connects people and organizations from across the Western Hemisphere to serve and change lives through lasting partnerships, was selected to implement its award-winning A Ganar program - titled Vencer in Brasil - on the newly-opened courts. Through field and classroom sport-based activities, A Ganar helps youth transfer lessons from the field into market-driven skills and attitudes. A program ranges from seven to nine months, and at the end, youth are instilled with the necessary skills to either return to the classroom or start a career.
“I have been working with A Ganar groups since 2006,” said Alan Maia, A Ganar Brasil Country Coordinator. “What I saw at Morro dos Macacos was one the most exciting atmosphere ever. It was a great community celebration with sport, arts, and social engagement. We have 30 youth selected to attend the A Ganar program from now to December. I can confidently say that they will live an amazing experience that will transform their lives and open the doors for a beautiful future”.
Morro dos Macacos is home to nearly 15,000 residents and has some of Rio’s lowest rankings in income and education. love.futbol, which builds community sports facilities all over the world, helped to select the location for the new court, working closely with local municipalities, as well as INATOS, a local organization with more than 20 years of experience providing services to the community. The collaboration helped to create a true sense of ownership of the space by the community, enabling ongoing, sustainable and impactful use.
“ESPN is committed to providing resources to kids in Rio de Janeiro to play sports,” said Russell Wolff, ESPN International Executive President and Managing Director. “We are pleased to collaborate with love.futbol, A Ganar, and INATOS to build this court in a community where there is a need as it can make a difference.”