As schools across the island are abuzz with the new academic year, Sandals Resorts International kicked off the Future Goal school program.
Sandals Resorts together with its philanthropic arm, the Sandals Foundation, members of Ajax Coaching Academy, and local organization, Favela Street, kicked off the Future Goals school program – a one-of-a-kind initiative that builds on youngsters’ love of the game of football while teaching life skills and empowering participants to take care of their environment.
The campus of Niewindt College in Willemstad, Curaçao, came alive recently as a class of six-grade students were introduced to the football and life-building curriculum carefully crafted to nurture within students the AFC Ajax’ principles of success as well as the Sandals Foundation’s goals of sustainable environmental education.
Menno Geelen, CCO at AFC Ajax: “It is the goal of Ajax to ensure that as many children as possible enjoy the game of football, while imparting the key principles that we hold true – discipline, respect, team work, creativity and being the best. Based on the children’s engagement alone, the program is off to a solid start – and this is just the beginning.”
“Future Goals is facilitating football in the Caribbean in a way that supports the environment and protects our natural resources,” says the Sandals Foundation’s Patrice Gilpin.
“The program presents a dynamic opportunity to empower the next generation to be fearless in advocating and effecting sustainable change by challenging them to identify and implement conservation habits within their respective homes and communities.”
Students ages 8 to 12 across almost 40 primary schools across Curaçao will be engaged in an 8-week curriculum of in-class and field lessons taught by at least two local Future Coaches selected from the youth organization Favela Street and trained by Ajax coaches. Participating schools will receive two Future Goals built by local company, Limpi Recycling, with posts made from plastic waste and fishing nets lost at sea. Each school will also be equipped with 14 adidas balls and the technical skills of the sport – culminating in a national tournament.
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As part of an intensive two-week, train-the-trainers workshop conducted by Ajax Coaching Academy and Favela Street, the cohort of 12 Future Coaches were hosted at Sandals Royal Curaçao earlier this month, sharing in the warmth of the luxury all-inclusive resort and learning first-hand how, through the Sandals Foundation, the company works to impact Caribbean families in the areas of education, community and environment.
Momentum for the program continues to build exponentially with international recognition at the ECA General Assembly held in Istanbul, Turkey, September 22-23 – where Sandals Resorts and AFC Ajax received the ECA Corporate Partnership Award for their groundbreaking initiative and creative approach to sustainability through Future Goals. The European Club Association (ECA) represents all 246 clubs that play European football – Champions League, Europa League & Conference League – with AFC Ajax being one of only four clubs to be nominated for this prestigious award and, together with Sandals Resorts, ultimately taking home the win based on the shared values between club and brand, creativity, impact for fans and innovation.
About Future Goals
Sandals Resorts International (SRI) and its philanthropic arm, the Sandals Foundation, joined forces with the Netherlands’ AFC Ajax professional football team to launch Future Goals – a program that turns fishing nets lost at sea and recycled plastic waste into soccer goals for children. The Sandals Foundation and AFC Ajax tapped into local Curaçaon plastic recycling company, Limpi, known for its creative approach to plastic waste recycling and product development, to create the colorful Future Goals goal posts, which are made almost entirely of ghost nets and recycled plastic waste. Future Goals is complemented by a unique training program with AFC Ajax coaches at the helm, who mentor ‘Future Coaches’ recruited by the local Curaçao life skills program, Favela Street, on a robust eight-week curriculum for the children that focuses as much on technique as it does mindset in order to foster the next generation of leaders. Expanding opportunities for locals through the power of youth sports, the landmark partnership begins at primary schools across the Dutch Caribbean island with plans to scale across the region.
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