On Dec. 26, 2011, Orange County based non-profit organization,Tiyya Foundation, in partnership with Soccer Without Borders opened its first week long Winter Soccer Camp to about 62 refugee youth in Anaheim, CA.
Through generous donations from community members and local organizations, all the youth who participated in the camp received, “brand new uniforms, cleats, shin guards, soccer balls and sports bags; items their parents cannot afford,” the organization said in a press statement.
Founded in 2010, Tiyya foundation is offering young children of recent immigrants, “a space to develop closer connections with other peers who share similar experiences.” According to the statement, John O’Brien, former U.S. National Soccer player, “led a team of eight volunteer coaches to train boys and girls, ages 5-18, on confidence building exercises while improving their soccer skills.”
“Soccer is universal and it is the sport of choice for our refugee clients”, said Owliya Dima, co-founder of The Tiyya Foundation.
Due to the presence of many resettlement agencies in Los Angeles and San Diego area, Orange County draws in many refugee families and individuals. The city of Anaheim, one of the most populated cities in California, has fairly affordable neighborhoods making it an ideal choice for recent immigrants in the area.
The Anaheim School District, given its diversity, serves as an entry point for students in grades K-12 who need support in “learning English, understanding cultural norms and school policies.” The transition “causes a great deal of stress and anxiety…leaving very little room for extracurricular activities.” That is why Tiyya foundation is looking to offer the youth a little room to play.
According to the organizers, the camp will continue throughout the week, from Dec. 26-30th running from 10a.m –1p.m at Brookhurst Junior High School soccer field. The winter soccer camp will take place “seasonally” but the founders hope to form “a refugee youth soccer team. “
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