The Atlanta Silverbacks have recently teamed up with the Salvation Army and storied English club, Liverpool FC to bring soccer to underprivileged Hispanic children in the Atlanta area. The initiative, set in motion by the Salvation Army and Global Events Group, will include an athletic and academic outreach program to the Liga Juvenil de Atlanta, a local Hispanic youth soccer club that is free of charge to its over 600 members.
José Almaraz began Liga Juvenil de Atlanta in 2000 to motivate low-income Hispanic children to do well in school and the community. The club includes teaching the sport of soccer, as well as teaching the importance of education and social responsibility to the young players. Until recently, the club has had trouble finding adequate fields for play and thus jeopardizing their status within the state league. The Atlanta Silverbacks have donated field space at Atlanta Silverbacks Park for Liga Juvenil de Atlanta enabling the club to hold tryouts, practices, and games. As part of the Salvation Army’s program, Liverpool FC will send staff members to Atlanta to assist developing soccer at the grassroots level and providing opportunities for underprivileged youth.
As well as the athletic component to the program, there will be an academic component in the form of an IT Center in Doraville. A UK based company, iTpod Company, has provided an IT Center that will be equipped with 12 computers loaded with software for use by the local community. The IT center will provide an opportunity for the participants to receive technical skills training and enterprise their new found talents to the benefit of their community. The grand opening of the IT Center will take place this Thursday evening at 7:00 pm at the Salvation Army Hispanic Corps Doraville (additional information follows the story).
“We are just very excited that we are able to help out. José has poured his heart and soul into his club and it’s great to be able to make an impact and provide them with a place to play. All parties involved are clearly dedicated to Atlanta’s soccer community and making a difference,” commented Laura Fedrigo, Silverbacks Director of Marketing.
“We are able to use the privilege of playing at Atlanta Silverbacks Park as a reward to motivate the children. They must do well in school and at home to be able to play out at the Park,” commented Almaraz, President of Liga Juvenil de Atlanta. “The IT Center will be a huge stepping stone for these kids who can’t afford college. They will gain invaluable skills that will help them enter the working world.”
“Myself and the Salvation Army are so thankful to all the parties who have come together to make this program possible. Throughout the United States the Salvation Army is dedicated to sports ministry in a variety of ways. This initiative is unique because we are able to incorporate soccer and catch the new wave of what today’s youth want to experience,” commented Kelly Durant, Captain of Salvation Army Hispanic Corps Doraville. “Our role is one where we can provide additional support to their families and strengthen the community. The athletic aspect coupled with the academic aspect, help people to know that there are many auxiliary programs that can improve their chances of more fulfillment and achievement.”
“Liverpool FC is excited about being involved in this unique program. Any material the players might receive will have a Liverpool presence on it and so it's a way for us to spread the word of what we're all about. The program is not about looking for elite players and working with the best young talents in America; but rather, we are going to be involved in giving youngsters the chance to play for free and that is what is so exciting. We want the children we expose to soccer to be thrilled by the whole experience,” commented Gareth Evans, Liverpool FC Academy Community Coach.
"Through the kind generosity of the Atlanta Silverbacks and the iTpod Company - our very own Good Samaritan's - the future for Liga Juvenil de Atlanta is looking brighter than ever and I am confident that the club will now go from strength to strength. Along with the wonderful support of Liverpool Football Club, the club is destined to become one of Georgia's most innovative and respected soccer clubs," commented Peter Miller Vice-President Sports and Education Development, Global Events Group. Global Events Group is a non-profit, Christian sports ministry organization responsible for bringing together all the parties involved.
“We were very impressed by the work that José was doing in the community and we are honored to be part of the program. We look forward to working on the initiative with him to enhance people’s lives to the best of our ability,” commented Glenn Thomas, Chairman of iTpod Company, Ltd.
The official launch of the “Liga Juvenil de Atlanta and Liverpool Football Club IT Learning Unit” will take place on Thursday night at 7:00 pm at the Salvation Army Hispanic Corps Doraville – 3771 Central Avenue, Doraville, GA. The evening will include words from several guest speakers, and refreshments and appetizers will be served.
For more information, contact the Salvation Army Hispanic Corps Doraville at 770-936-3050 or the Atlanta Silverbacks at 404-969-4902.
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