CRF Blog

Soccer field skirmish a lesson in democracy for immigrant students

by Bill Hayes

In Soccer field skirmish a lesson in democracy for immigrant students, the Los Angeles Times reports on how students at Oakland International High School are learning civics.

English is a new language at this public school for recently arrived immigrants from nearly three dozen countries. A third are refugees, many of whom have witnessed atrocities in their home countries. A fourth had received little or no formal education before landing here.

It’s a Tower of Babel where unity comes in part through Soccer Without Borders, a program that got its start at this 7-year-old campus and has since spread globally. Founder Ben Gucciardi crafted it precisely to help youths bond across cultural chasms and blossom as leaders in and out of the classroom.

Through soccer, Barrera said, we “make communication with people who are different from us.”

Now the soccer program is uniting students in unexpected ways.

Tired of practicing on broken asphalt or, when lucky, on grass at a nearby school or city park, players have joined forces with the student leadership club to press for a field of their own. [more]