Through her efforts, and those of many others, a much needed soccer program was brought to the town of Juriquilla that caters to the impoverished residing in Juriquilla Pueblo. Children between the ages of 8 and 16 can enroll for free, practicing 3 times per week at a local park that has been provided by the area government. The main goal of the program is to keep the kids off the streets, and into sports, building healthy bodies and minds.
However, we also know that nothing in life is free. In order for the kids to continue playing games, and not just practice, they must raise money to pay the local soccer club to enroll the four teams.
This is where we are asking for your help. There are currently 80 players enrolled in the program. They need to come up with $2400 to enroll the teams in the league, which has already begun. That comes to just $30 per child. It doesn´t sound like much, but the average income in this town is about $13 a day, working full time. And this money doesn´t include any of the extras they need to buy to play (uniforms, socks, cleats, balls, etc...). All we ask is that you sponsor ONE CHILD.
To whom it may concern,
My name is Maricruz Ocampo, friend of Angie Guzman, and I am writing on behalf of the Kids of the Town of Juriquilla. Juriquilla Pueblo, as we call it, is located on the outskirts of the city of Queretaro in the central region of Mexico. Its population is close to 3,500, most of them impoverished with a monthly income per family below MXP $4,000 ($300 USD). Many of the homes lack basic services such as electricity, water or cement floors. They have a kindergarten and elementary school up to the 6th grade, a telesecundaria (7th to 9th grade via television) and the closest public highschool is almost 10 miles away. There are no school buses. Most of the kids study up to 9th grade, some highschool and very few have made it to college level. Most of the parents of this children have 6 years of education and work as maids, in construction or gardening. There is a high incidence of alcohol consumption and recently of drugs such as marijuana and solvents among teenagers. Juriquilla Pueblo has an average daily income of MXP $170 (USD $12.70) for a family of four.
Our soccer teams are composed of 80 children between the ages of 8 and 16 and are subdivided in four categories. Most of the children in our teams are undernourished, below average height for their age and lagging in school. The social situation prevalent in the town makes them ideal targets for gangs, crime and drug and alcohol abuse, since the drop out rate is high.
Regardless of all these disadvantages, they have been champions in the local soccer league on several ocassions. They are trained by two coaches, both of them also living in impoverished conditions, who struggle constantly to obtain the means to enroll them in the championships, buy balls, uniforms and other training equipment, and obtain means of transportation to get the teams to the games. Most of the kids are unable to afford uniforms, shoes and socks. There are instances where two little brothers share the same pair of shoes in order to participate in the same game (one literally takes his shoes off and passes them to his brother). We have been working with them for the past year and a half and have witnessed the great sacrifices both coaches make in order to keep their teams playing and the children away from drugs and in school. They are truely local heros that have given their time to this task for over 22 years without any economical compensation, and in many instances, using their meager personal resources to carry on.
My heart breaks every time I see one of these kids having to quit their team because of lack of economic means to continue. This is particularly true of the older ones, that many times have to find low paying jobs in order to help their families, unable to save a little to carry on playing.
I share this with you in order to appeal to your generosity and kind heart. We are currently struggling to sing them up to play in the 2014 league because their families have been unable to raise the money to do it. In order to keep the 60 children playing in the two leagues during a year, is costs $600USD per team per year, or $2,400USD. This amount covers all tournamente fees for 12 months. We are currently working at the local level to support this effort, but are also reaching out for international sponsors in order to guarantee that these kids carry on with this very important activity, not only for them, but for their entire community.
I sincerely hope for your help in this difficult situation because it would be a tragedy if the last champions are unable to fight for the trophy this year due to lack of funding.
Maricruz Ocampo Guerrero
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