Wednesday December 4th, the National Police in cooperation with “Mundial del Barrio” met with the children of the program to increase awareness about the dangers of illicit drugs. In attendance were members of the organization’s sub-13 and sub-15 football leagues.
Mundial del Barrio is non-profit NGO that gives children the opportunity to participate in a youth football league. The children attend monthly meetings as a requirement for participation in the league. The December 4th presentation was about drugs and the January 8th meeting will touch on the topics of self-esteem and bullying. In addition to attending these meetings, the children in the program must maintain passing grades and a record of good conduct.
Mundial del Barrio began 10 years ago in Panama City, in the section of the city known as “El Chorillo”. El Chorillo is home to some the most underprivileged neighborhoods in the country. The founders of the organization realized that playing football was a great way to keep at risk youths out of trouble by giving them something constructive to do as well as teaching the youth the virtues of teamwork, friendship and commitment. Today there are over 26 outfits nationwide.
The Mundial del Barrio 2014 summer tournament will be held from January 8th to February 14th and all 26 outfits will be competing at a national level for a total of over 7,000 children in 5 different categories from ages 3 to 15. The Bocas del Toro matches will take place in Changuinola at Finca 6 and will involve teams from Chiriqui Grande, Almirante, Isla Colon, Guabito and Changuinola.
“This tournament is part of the prevention strategy and youth motivational tool conducted by the Movimiento Nueva Generación (New Generation Movement)’s strategic alliance with the National Police, private businesses and institutions of national character,” says Sargent Martin Sanchez.
Sanchez also presented plans for a summer program called “Feliz Verano” (Happy Summer) where the police are working with volunteers to provide activities for children while they’re off of school in January and February. Volunteers will offer their services every other day while school is out of session, teaching sports and arts to the children.