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Though refugee youth living in America come from different countries and speak different tongues, there is a language they can all have in common: soccer. As YALLA education director Lars Almquist explained, soccer is “a universal language among a diasporic community.” YALLA founder, Mark Kabban experienced this phenomenon himself when one day he was juggling a soccer ball outside and a group of refugee kids joined him in a pickup game. Having lived in Lebanon for most of his youth, Kabban knows how hard it is to move into a new society. Inspired by his impromptu soccer match, he founded YALLA, a Peace Builders Soccer League and tutoring program for refugee kids. Youth in his program come from Iraq, Africa, and Latin America, and often immigrated to the United States to escape civil war, genocide, and forced labor. Many have never been to school a day in their lives, but in their new homes, they have a chance to acquire knowledge, make new friends, and prepare for bright futures in college or trade careers.
By word of mouth and outreach efforts, young refugees come to the YALLA office, hoping to join the soccer team they heard about in school. But the soccer league is really just a hook to get kids involved in YALLA’s true mission—to help youth acclimate into and succeed in their new lives in America, both socially and academically. In exchange for the chance to play, scholar-athletes must spend the same amount of time in after-school tutoring sessions as they do in soccer practice, so that they hone their math and language skills along with their bicycle kick. Within this strong community of peers, young refugees can build a home and work toward success that was long denied to them.
While tutoring youth in YALLA, Almquist found that it only takes a small push to help them progress from hopelessness to success. Everyday they work, they build a foundation of knowledge in a new language. Eventually, something clicks and they can finish problems on their own or begin tutoring other children. Then they can focus on a larger goal, such as going to college, getting a job, or finding a scholarship to play soccer after graduation.
See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand at the Groupon Grassroots blog.
A Southwest-based company for more than a century, Frazee Paint and its team of manufacturers are well acquainted with the unique climactic conditions of the region. Always pulling from the latest technology, their technicians design each of their paint and coating products to withstand dry heat, sparse rainfall, and showers of chewing tobacco from passing cowboys. Their quality paints, wall-coverings, wood-care products, and painter's tools stock the shelves of more than 125 retail locations throughout California, Arizona, and Nevada, as well as international dealers in Mexico, China, and Guam.
The Salvation Army Family Store collects and resells donated items ranging from vintage clothing to antique furniture. Patrons can search for wardrobes, tables, and couches to fill out their home, plates and silverware to stock their empty kitchen, and VCRs to feed their pet robot. All proceeds from the Family Stores support The Salvation Army's San Diego Adult Rehabilitation Center, a 12-step work therapy and faith-based residential and transitional rehabilitation program for men and women dealing with alcohol and substance abuse. The six-month to two-year program is offered to program participants at no cost.
Though the best way to contribute to the organization's mission, especially following natural disasters such as the recent wildfires, is with monetary donations, the Salvation Army accepts donations of used goods and clothing to sell in the network of Family Stores. All sales of these donated items support the funding of the organization's programming. To donate goods, call (800) 728-7825 or visit www.SanDiego.SATruck.org; for monetary donations, call (866) 455-4357, visit www.SanDiego.SalvationArmy.org, or send to The Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters, SD Fires, 2320 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101.
When Larisa Hall was born, the doctors were not sure she'd ever be able to walk. She was born with severely clubbed feet and spent the next nine months wearing casts on both legs. But within six months, Larisa was up on her feet; and by the time she was five, she had discovered dance and never wanted to stop. Dancing proved to be a useful physical therapy—helping her gain coordination and overcome ankle pain.
Spurred on by her own triumph, Larisa founded Tap Fever Studios with the belief that everyone—no matter their age or level of ability—should have the opportunity to dance. To that end, she holds workshops for the hearing and listening impaired, as well as those who are developmentally disabled. Larisa also recently created a new method of dance called hand tap, which allows people with limited mobility to use special gloves and a wooden board to tap out rhythms while seated.
The founders of Plant With Purpose began the organization in 1984 after noticing the connections between poverty and the environment. Those connections live on today—deforestation forces poor, rural communities into even more intense poverty by hindering their abilities to live off the land. In an effort to meet the needs of their families, subsistence farmers engage in slash-and-burn agricultural practices that only facilitate the process of deforestation. Plant With Purpose aims to restore tree cover to deforested areas in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America, thereby reviving the environment and benefiting the subsistence farmers who rely on it. The organization has also expanded its work to include other community-building services, such as providing loans, sharing agricultural techniques, and training communities in peace and reconciliation.