It’s no secret to working families that it’s getting harder to afford one of the most basic pleasures of childhood: the opportunity to play in an organized sports league. A sad fact that is especially true in economically depressed communities, like the Jane and Finch neighbourhood in Toronto.
But the youth in Jane and Finch refuse to be sidelined by the high costs of equipment and registration fees.
Instead they’ve teamed up with UFCW Canada Local 1000A and several other progressive groups to come up with a way to make sure everyone has the right to play.
Together with Local 1000A, the Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples, the Jane and Finch Community Family Centre, the Spot, and the For Youth Initiative (FYI), the Jane and Finch youth created the Inter-Community Futbol League (ICFL), which offers everyone in the community under the age 19 with a chance to play organized soccer – for free.
The program involves two different age groups: one category for teams with players under 19, and a second category for teams with players under 15. And both categories compete over two seasons (Winter 2011-2012, and Spring-Summer 2012).
In addition to providing free recreational options for youth and their families, the project also offers youth with skills training, like conflict mediation, and certification for older youth mentors in the fields of coaching and refereeing.
To find out more about the ICFL, its certification programs, and how you can get involved, go to http://www.communitysoccer.wordpress.com