In 2010, GOALS began with some very big dreams.
We dreamed that children growing up in poverty in Haiti would have shoes, food, clean water and reason to hope for a better future. We dreamed that with access to health information and increased confidence, girls would finish school without getting pregnant. We dreamed that a generation of Haitian youth would dream bigger and achieve more through the power of football.
Over the past five years, communities, soccer coaches and youth leaders in Haiti have come together - with the support of soccer fans and donors from around the world - to make these dreams happen. GOALS has nearly eliminated teen pregnancies amongst our youth; our first students have graduated high school; we've seen children who grew up kicking tin cans on the beach recruited to play semi-professional soccer.
And GOALS responded by dreaming even bigger.
Going beyond soccer, we launched our community bakery program to provide jobs, micro-enterprise opportunities and a more sustainable food source for GOALS kids, and our adult and youth literacy program is providing second chances for children and adults.
Local communities have always eagerly joined GOALS as a partner, sharing what resources they have to make soccer, service, and education programs happen for their children. Landowners lend space for a soccer field, families donate their time to projects and neighbors bring a chair or a table to host visiting teachers. One way or another, GOALS programs have always succeeded, even with little more than a tarp for shade.
But tarps shred over time, and temporary structures are vulnerable to wind and rain. Coaches, parents, and kids have always asked GOALS to establish a safe and permanent place for community activities. A place where kids can study and learn. A place to shelter down during hurricanes and flash flooding. A place where doctors can visit patients and a place where teen girls can learn about their health.
After months of planning, and nearly two years of fundraising, in partnership with the families of village of Destra who donated a plot of land, and in partnership with Building Goodness Foundation GOALS has begun construction on a new community education center to provide a safe, permanent space to house our programs.
Children and adults will learn to read within the new center's walls. It will house political debates and elections and accommodate visiting medical staff at mobile clinics. In a community where most families survive on less than $2 a day, the GOALS center will bring new jobs, commerce and new opportunities to the area.
Thank you to everyone who donated to make this dream a reality, and stay tuned to follow the construction progress!