Co-written by Jim Hannesschlager and Laura Adviento
After a busy week, weekends are always greatly anticipated. But when you roll out of bed on Sunday, April 6, wondering if you should visit your local brunch spot or run overdue errands, we pose to you an alternative – help make a difference.
Last year, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 6 as the first ever International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP). The day is meant to provide recognition of the work being conducted in the sport and development community to positively impact the world and was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the first modern Olympic Games in Athens, Greece in 1896. Sunday, April 6 is also an opportunity to advocate and celebrate sport’s role in education, human development, healthy lifestyles, and a peaceful world.
The health and wellness benefits of sport are well documented, however, the often ignored benefit are the ones humanity reaps from the individual who is physically active on a regular basis. Once empowered by the psychosocial benefits of sport and physical activity, the individual is better prepared to impact their world for the better. When we see youth participating in the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success program, this is what we see – young people participating in sport while learning skills that will empower them to positively impact the world now and in the future.
What will you do to celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP)? You could connect with a friend, find an activity, and get your heart rate up for a few minutes. Or maybe start a conversation, post on social media, and get the word out. Whatever you do this Sunday, we encourage you to think about what this day means to you. By celebrating this day, we can start building new foundations for impact in our communities.
Want to know how the U.S. Soccer Foundation plans to celebrate? Here’s what our staff had to say:
“While sport at the highest levels garners most of the public attention, it is important to remember the important role sport can play in the lives of everyday people -- particularly our children. It can teach perseverance, leadership, tolerance, and respect. These are values that all of us at the U.S. Soccer Foundation seek to promote. That is why we are thrilled to celebrate the inaugural International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on April 6. Formal recognition by the United Nations of the powerful role sport can play in society represents a milestone in the sport for development movement. Among the ways I will mark the day is by sharing this blog post with friends, family, and colleagues -- encouraging them to reflect on the important role sport has played in their lives and in the lives of their children.” – Ed Foster-Simeon, President and CEO
“Sport saved my life and I truly believe it has the power to positively impact communities in a dynamic way. I am thrilled that there is a day that celebrates the power of sport and allows us to reflect on the ways that it makes a difference. [To celebrate] I plan to get out and go for a long run. Spring time always gives me energy (must be the sunshine) so I’m looking forward to being active!” – Krista Washington, Marketing and Communications Coordinator
“Sport for development is my life’s work. I firmly believe that using the games we love to make the world a better place deserves a day in the sun. Happy Sport for Development day, world!” – Michael Vaughan Cherubin, Programs Coordinator
“I’m going to get active in my community by running a local 10 miler race, with proceeds benefitting local charities!” – Alex Bard, Compliance Coordinator
“I am constantly amazed by the power of sport to help us build a community and connect with those around us. Whether you're a futbol player or a football player, an Earthquakes fan or a Galaxy fan, the joy of sport is universal. For me, this day is about celebrating that joy and about celebrating sport as a catalyst for positive social change in communities around the world.” – Nora Hall, Marketing and Communications Assistant