In an effort to spread understanding of Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc.’s global mission, Jessica Viscuso and Robert McNamara took center stage this week in a Monmouth University classroom. As special guests of a Global Human Rights and Social Justice class, Viscuso and McNamara hosted an interactive presentation to illustrate YAP’s street soccer methodology, which is being used globally as a mediation tool for young people.
The presentation comes as YAP is launching #YAPGuatemalaLove, a four-week global social media campaign to raise awareness and funding to address the violence, extreme poverty, drug trafficking and unemployment that cause Guatemalan families to risk family separation and the lives of their children to seek asylum in the U.S.
Viscuso is engaging support for the campaign from fellow students, including Monmouth University Fraternity and Sorority Life members. Siembra Bien, YAP’s sister agency in Guatemala, has introduced the street soccer leadership training model to gang-affiliated and other young people it serves in the country.
“We were able to teach these students about how the game of street soccer promotes social inclusion for the youth we work with at YAP,” Viscuso said. “We were able to explain how the YAP mission is about mitigating injustices in regard to children's rights not just here in the United States, but all over the world.”
The presentation included an opportunity for some of the 70 students in the class to engage in an actual street soccer game and experience the values of street soccer.
“The values truly resonated with the students and they carried them out throughout the entire game,” Viscuso said. “As noted by one of the students during the mediation session, ‘There was nothing but respect on both teams’.”
Viscusco and McNamara also used the opportunity to remind students to go to www.yapinc.org to learn how they can support the #YAPGuatemalaLove campaign.