HOLA hosts Global Peace Games with Cobi Jones
Over 120 HOLA youth gathered together to participate in a Global Peace Games event, an international celebration coordinated around the United Nations International Day of Peace. The Global Peace Games are “grass roots” soccer games that take place under the initiative of PLAY SOCCER Nonprofit International and are organized by organizations and communities around the world. For the past several months, HOLA has been partnering with PLAY SOCCER and the event was the culmination of the work the participants in the program have been doing. The program consists of a 12 week curriculum addressing health topics such as nutrition and physical activity, as well as social topics such as team work and environmental responsibility, all of which are taught through interactive basic soccer activities.
At the event, the gymnasium was decorated with posters created and signed by the PLAY SOCCER participants. The posters expressed their commitment to peace through sport. The students opened the festivities with a recitation of the Peace Games pledge and some brief thoughts on how sport can spread peace. Loren Ruben, HOLA's Director of Leadership and Summer Programs, then read special messages from the United Nations Special Adviser on Sport for Development & Peace and the President of FIFA. Judy McPherson, PLAY SOCCER's Executive Director and Board Chair, welcomed the young athletes and then it was time for the fun to begin. Special guest Cobi Jones (LA Galaxy legend and member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame) led skill drills and spoke about his personal commitment to spreading peace through sport, encouraging everyone to join him in his efforts. The kids were thrilled to have Cobi visit and walked away feeling united, motivated and inspired.