Charity Football Clinic Introduces Bulacan Kids to The Beautiful Game
Football, or Soccer as some like to call it, is often referred to as The Beautiful Game. It’s beautifully simple, beautiful to watch, and a beautiful way to learn about things such as fair play and the importance of physical exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.
The One Meralco Foundation (OMF) and Meralco’s football club, the Loyola Meralco Sparks, clearly shared the belief that football is an activity with many benefits when they held a charity football clinic last Saturday at the Emperador Stadium in McKinley Hill.
The program, carried out in partnership with cement manufacturing giant Holcim Philippines, was held for the benefit of around 50 underprivileged children from eleven different municipalities of Bulacan who are scholars of Holcim Philippines’ Foster a Child’s Education (FACE) program, an employee volunteer educational assistance program which focuses on providing underprivileged children with access to primary education.
Holcim arranged for the kids to visit Manila and also provided brand new pairs of Nike Football shoes before letting them loose on the pitch under the watchful eyes of Sparks Star Player Matthew Hartmann and members of the Sparks, as well as Meralco employees who all volunteered to help out on the day.
“It’s good for the kids. It helps with coordination,” said Hartmann. “For some kids it’s second nature, for other kids, they’re struggling with it, but we’re glad to have these youngsters play with the big guys. It will give them something to strive for and think ‘That could be me one day.’”
Indeed, watching the kids play on the day I found it hard to believe when FACE Program Supervisor Eliza Delos Santos told me that most had never played football before in their lives. The majority of them went from zero to 4-4-2 in absolutely no time, which confirms just how beautifully simple yet engaging the sport is.
“It’s not a new project. We’ve been doing football clinics with the Sparks for about two or three years already”, said One Meralco Foundation President Jeffrey O. Tarayao. “It’s part of our youth development advocacy. Sport is a very important tool in developing the character of kids. It provides them with a good diversion from possible bad influences in their communities. That’s the reason why we’re focusing on sports.”
The foundation, together with the Sparks and the Meralco Football Club, conducts several football clinics throughout the year. In April, it held its third “Football for Peace” clinic in partnership with the Philippine Marines. The said activity trained more than 150 young athletes from conflict areas in Mindanao and Palawan in preparation for their friendly matches with professional football clubs in Manila and nearby provinces.
OMF also conducts basketball clinics in partnership with the Meralco Bolts PBA team and chess tournaments facilitated by employee-volunteers who are skilled at the game.
“All of these activities are part of our Youth and Sports Development program, which is one of our major advocacy pillars at One Meralco Foundation,” continued Tarayao. “We and our partners believe that building the skills of our young people to become responsible, productive and peace-loving citizens will hopefully lead us to a better country. This is a concrete expression of our commitment to youth development through sports.”
The final score on the day was: Kids 1 – Boredom 0
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