When kids in Roatán, Honduras, join a soccer team, the odds of them becoming involved in drugs, premarital sex and street violence decreases. That’s because the CAN Fútbol Foundation (CANFF) uses the sport for more than recreation. It has become a way to promote education and social change among more than 150 underprivileged youth living on the island.
“There’s so much poverty in Honduras, and I realized I could use soccer to not only keep these kids active, but also as a vehicle to motivate them to do better in school,” says executive director and co-founder Jason Old, a former soccer player with the Honduran National Fútbol League.
Established in 2008, CANFF teaches kids to be responsible by participating in community service projects that include trash cleanup, planting trees and collecting more than 700 pounds of reusable items for recycling. And kids who maintain a B average or better in school receive free soccer equipment.
Co-founder Tony Rosado says he got involved because he wants to give kids an equal opportunity to succeed in life.
“I thought it wasn’t fair that kids who love soccer as much as me would not have the opportunities I had in life because of socioeconomic status.”