September 5, 2018

On today's show, Bev talks with Soccer in the Streets in Atlanta at the world's first soccer field in a train station.  Later Bruce Gale brings us an interview with one of our Heroes of the Week from back in 2013, Hannah Taylor.

Numerous studies have shown that quality mentoring relationships have positive effects on youth – especially those kids at-risk. Mentoring guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter.

One in four public school children drop out before they finish high school. The numbers are worse for African- American and Hispanic students with the likelihood of graduating high school only 65 percent. Many of these students who drop out lack access to a positive role model in their life.

There are 46 million young people, aged 8 - 18, living in America. An estimated 16 million of these youths are growing up without a mentor in their lives. That's one out of every three kids who, outside of their family at home, don't have a trusted adult who they feel they can turn to for advice and guidance.

Mentoring is often one component of a program that involves other elements, such as tutoring or life skills training and coaching.

Many mentoring programs promote the development of youth life skills through sports.  Not only are specific sports skills taught but the program focuses on developing life skills such as teamwork, leadership development, ethics, the value of education, healthy eating habits and how to make informed choices.  

Sports have this common theme that lends itself to mentoring relationships. Kids want to be involved in something where they can say, ‘I am part of that.’ Then if you can get them to belong to something where they’re doing the right things, they are more likely to get or stay on the right track.

Recent findings around the country are showing that juvenile crime rates are consistently reduced in neighborhoods where sports-based youth development programs are improving the leadership, teamwork and self-governance skills of at-risk teens.

And this brings us to today's nonprofit, Soccer in the Streets

Soccer in the Streets is an Atlanta nonprofit that empowers underserved youth through soccer training, character development, mentoring, and employability programs. @soccerstreets

The organization serves in a holistic and comprehensive way, reaching kids on the field, in small-group classroom sessions, through hands-on experiences and activities, and participation in youth leadership councils. 

Soccer in the Streets is home to the world’s first soccer field in a train station.  Bev had the opportunity to visit the unique Five Points MARTA Station Urban Soccer Field…the first of many planned for Atlanta.  A crazy idea that is breaking down barriers.  They're committed to leveling the playing field so that all youth can play soccer and find new opportunity in life regardless of where they live. Each dollar people pay to play in one of their leagues or events helps a kid play in an urban soccer program in Atlanta.

Bev sat down at the field with Lauren Glancy, Sanjay Patel and Tess Patton from Soccer in Streets to talk about their programs for youth.

Hannah Taylor is one of those very special people who care deeply for the homeless and underprivileged.  She has helped thousands of people along the way.  She has traveled the world and recruited young and old to help however possible.  She has met some very influential people who have helped her since she was 5 yrs. old and learned about hunger and homelessness.  

By the time Hannah was 8, she had started her nonprofit, The Ladybug Foundation, and had become the innocent face of the homeless, seeing their plight with the clarity of a child and speaking out for them across Canada, and elsewhere in the world, to one person at a time and to groups as large as 16,000.

She has spoken in front of thousands of people to encourage them to help those in need.  She was voted as one of the finalists for Canada's Nicest Person Competition.  She was also honored as one of the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award Winners from all around the world.  She's a published author of a children's book.

We introduced our listeners to Hannah’s story back in May of 2013.  On today’s show, Bruce Gale talks with Hannah about the work her nonprofit has accomplished and her goals for the future.

Hannah Taylor Speaking at School
Hannah Taylor Speaking at School