It’s hard to imagine this field of trash being transformed into something beautiful and beneficial, but that is our vision for this land at the base of the Lord’s Food Bank. Right now it is used as a dumping ground for garbage that people throw there. But with some hard work and a good fence, we plan on turning it into a soccer field for the youth of the neighborhood to use.
We know it can be done because we’ve done it before in another part of the city. We took a plot as desolate and full of trash as this one and turned it into a soccer field that has made a huge difference in the lives of the children who play on it.
Soccer is hugely popular in Mexico, and it provides a great outlet for young people. For example, Albert (not his real name), first came to us when he was 11. His parents ignored him, so he started smoking marijuana to ease his sadness and depression. He is now 16 and shared, “I stopped smoking pot when I came and got involved with the soccer team. I had no desire for it anymore.”
In our soccer program, the kids learn good sportsmanship and how to be a team player. We have a few rules for anyone that plays on our field: no bad language and no fighting. If anyone swears or picks a fight, they have to sit out on the sidelines. And no one wants to do that too often, so the players have learned to watch their language and curb their tempers.
The discipline these kids are learning from being part of a team is helping equip them for the challenges of life. They see that they don’t have to resort to violence to work out conflicts and that they can control their impulses and reactions. We see the fruit of these life-changing lessons in their lives and in their families, which is why we want to take this type of sports program to other parts of the city.