For those that wish to continue to support the youth they met, families can reach out to Xela-Aid (http://www.xelaaid.org) and make further monetary donations, sponsor a child's education or just learn more.
The youth continued their hard work with two days of service work in the San Martin area, headquarters of Xela-Aid. One afternoon had all the youth and coaches working individually with local youth, ages 8-18, on their english language skills. Each NY based youth was paired with a child from San Martin and created an individual english lesson, fostering friendship and a deeper cultural understanding. The second day the entire team went to the Escuela Primaria San Martin Chiquita to paint all of the desks, chairs and tables in this small rural school.
The combined DUSC team played soccer five out of the seven days of travel, meeting youth teams from the cities of Antigua, Quetzaltenango, San Martin and Santa Cruz de Laguna (Lake Atitlan area). Each moment on the field offered the opportunity for a cultural exchange and despite language differences the love for soccer made it easier for all involved to communicate.
The donated gear and gift of time and energy was received with gratitude and a hope for further cultural exchanges. The NY based youth not only realized how fortunate they are to have the benefit of clean water and access to education but also to have the opportunity to play soccer having gotten to know the young Guatemalans who are compelled to work to support their families instead of going to school and who are not able to play soccer because they do not have a pair shoes to play in.
From July 1 thru July 8 twenty youth soccer enthusiasts traveled to Guatemala to share their love of soccer, donate 70+ pairs of cleats and eight full teams worth of gear (tops, bottoms, socks, jackets, backpacks and goalie gear) and work with a rural school in the San Martin area. Downtown Untied Soccer Club, Soccer Recycle and Xela-Aid organized the trip. Coaches Vincent Grady, Arman Osooli and Stephanie Barrett accompanied the team and organized the daily practices and scrimmages against the local Guatemalan youth sharing their expertise and their love for the game creating a unique cultural experience for all involved.