"Goals for a Better Life"

Children are victims of the internal conflict in Colombia. Families displaced by violence struggle with the day to day live and parents also struggle to support their children, they have restricted access to school and are left alone at risk of falling into a life of drugs and crime.
Colombianitos' program is a change maker creating a visible social impact, through the use of education, sports and recreation.

The passion children have for football is what gets them involved. Football is transformed into a tool that is used to teach children values. COLOMBIANITOS allows boys and girls to dream for a different type of live and makes them better humans beings through the process. Through the codes of football we teach them to dream, believe in their potential and in the possibility of real progress in their lives.
Keeping children attending schools, and using their spare time wisely by attending football training and other activities provided by “Goals for a Better Life”, distances them from the dangers exhibited on the street.

About You

Organization: COLOMBIANITOS Visit websitemore ↓↑ hide↑ hide

Section 1: About You

First Name

Ana

Last Name

Arizabaleta

Organization

COLOMBIANITOS

Country

United States, GA, Fulton County

Section 2: About Your Organization

Organization Name

COLOMBIANITOS

Organization Website

Organization Phone

1-770-541-11-31

Organization Address

1545 Peachtree St, NE Atlanta, GA 30309

Is your organization a

Non‐profit/NGO/citizen sector organization

Organization Country

Colombia

Your idea

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Name Your Project

"Goals for a Better Life"

Country your work focuses on

Colombia

Describe Your Idea

Children are victims of the internal conflict in Colombia. Families displaced by violence struggle with the day to day live and parents also struggle to support their children, they have restricted access to school and are left alone at risk of falling into a life of drugs and crime.
Colombianitos' program is a change maker creating a visible social impact, through the use of education, sports and recreation.
The passion children have for football is what gets them involved. Football is transformed into a tool that is used to teach children values. COLOMBIANITOS allows boys and girls to dream for a different type of live and makes them better humans beings through the process. Through the codes of football we teach them to dream, believe in their potential and in the possibility of real progress in their lives.
Keeping children attending schools, and using their spare time wisely by attending football training and other activities provided by “Goals for a Better Life”, distances them from the dangers exhibited on the street.

Innovation

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What makes your idea unique?

Colombianito’s unique program meets excellent performance which implies our successful results and our blooming and emerging. We started in one city of our country and now we are operating successful in seven cities.

CITY Number of Children
Cartagena 536
Sincelejo 622
Medellín 387
Barbosa 403
Bucaramanga 426
Bogotá 627
Puerto Tejada 1.431
Total 4,432*

Our strong style and values gives hope and a sense of ownership to the children towards improvement of their community. They now have a team; something that matters to them that is important, that they believe is worth working for.
We developed a learning and different program for these communities that will sustain the kind of strong cultures and will make them distinctive and yet adaptive
Three times a week, each child has a training session with professional coaches. During the weekends, competitions among teams are held, where they learn the importance of team work, leadership, discipline, and respect for others.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

Yes

Impact

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What impact have you had?

Today the “Goals for a Better Life” Program benefits 4,300 children in seven communities of Colombia. Including their families, we are reaching 15,000 people with an integrated program that addresses educational needs of children and social needs of their families.

“Goals for a Better Life” has made a difference in each of the communities where it operates since day one. The program is helping reduce the significant drop out rates found in underprivileged populations and today 95% of the children that benefit from it are enrolled in schools.

The program has the power to stop the vicious cycle of violence in these children’s lives, since children are found less frequently in the streets, fewer children are using drugs, and fewer children are likely to engage with the illegal armed groups.

We stop children from being left unattended and from becoming the potential criminals of tomorrow; by giving them a happy childhood and the tools to have a different future, we are transforming communities.

Once children are enrolled in our “Goals for a Better Life” Program other community members get involved in it as well. Their parents and family members who don’t have much recreation opportunities start gathering in the football fields to support their children. Parents are thankful for the program. Working with every child’s family is working with the entire community.

Problem

Colombia, unfortunately, is one of the many countries in the world where children suffer as a result of an internal conflict. Children are used as combatants and collaborators of illegal armed organizations. They are victims of forced relocations from their home towns to the main cities. They are also victims of landmine explosions and are sexually exploited.
Families displaced by violence end up in overcrowded and impoverished urban slums. Children have restricted access to school. Parents struggle to support their families and children are left alone with a high risk of falling into a life of drugs and crime.

Actions

Colombian children have an incredible passion for soccer, especially poor children that dream to become soccer stars. Many of Colombian soccer stars used to be very poor when they were young. We decided to use this passion to connect with the youth, and we found it is very effective. Speaking soccer to these underprivileged children is the best way to ensure they listen. Once the children are involved in the soccer program, having fun with their friends, they love their team, they admire their coach (their hero), and they would do anything we tell them to keep it that way. So, now that they listen to us, we explain the importance of education, the dangers of drug misuse, the importance of good family relations and manners, good social skills, the value of team work. Bravo, this works! They listen. Their families also appreciate the advantages of the program, so they gladly send their children instead of having them inactive at home or in the streets.

Results

The COLOMBIANITOS educational program, “Goals for a Better Life,” reduces crime and drug addiction and promotes education through the use of football, music classes, computer labs, professional training and other activities. It is a community based program that currently brings hope to approximately 4,300 boys and girls at-risk currently enrolled in our programs.
Football is the tool we use to teach children self control, decision making, values and ethics through the laws of the game. COLOMBIANITOS allows boys and girls to dream of becoming football stars, giving them ambitions and direction. This advances their growth towards becoming better human beings in the process. Through the codes of football we teach them to dream, believe in their potential and in the possibility of real progress in their lives.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

In order for us to be successful over the next years, we will have to keep working hard through a structured plan of Presentations / Proposal / Grants and Corporate partnership approaches. We will keep looking and searching for new opportunities, maintaining the interest of current and former donors.
During the next year we will be working consistently and trying to get more sponsors for our Sponsorship Plan – Individual donor program
Each sponsor contributes 25.00 US Dollars monthly and secures the participation of one child in the Goals for a better Life Program. Our goal is to get a sponsor for each of our children.

With a program proven successful in Bogota, Puerto Tejada, Cartagena, Sincelejo, Barbosa, Bucaramanga and Medellin, it is vital for COLOMBIANITOS to engage more support that ensures the continuation and strengthening of the ongoing programs. Funds to continue these programs, which offer a viable and sustainable alternative for children at risk, are needed to encourage them to continue with their education, to stay away from gangs, violence, drugs and armed groups recruiters.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

The only reason that would prevent our project for being a success will be the continued funding, even though Colombianitos’ partners have a strong commitment to the foundation, cooperation agreements are always a fixed term and there is always concern about how to finance what is not covered and how to continue with the program if any of the sponsors cannot continue supporting the foundation.

How many people will your project serve annually?

1001‐10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?

Yes

Sustainability

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What stage is your project in?

Operating for more than 5 years

In what country?

Colombia

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Yes

If yes, provide organization name.

IDRD ( Institute of Recreation and Sport of Bogota)

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?

Yes

Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

To implement the program, COLOMBIANITOS need to use football fields, in the community of Ciudad Bolivar we made an alliance with IDRD (Recreation and Sport Institute of Bogota) which owns the land and we have a usage agreement that allow us to develop the program.
Fundacolombia - Thanks to the partnership with this organization we trained 34 young people as coaches, referees and reenactors, and then they formed a cooperative that provides services to several entities including Colombianitos. In addition, FIFA and Kimberly Clark through its social responsibility program Football for Hope supports Colombianitos since 2005. They have signed two cooperation agreements, and they give an annual percentage of the program. Conconcreto also finances the largest percentage of the program.
Postobon - Finance a percentage of the program. Other organizations provide health, dental and training.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

The little space for the workshops, has led to outdoor activities with parents and boys / girls, which at times has generated low attendance (in rainy season), It is important to keep looking for spaces around the community as a loan or lease. In addition, the recognition of the community has allowed the continuation of the foundation and its program goals for a Better Life in the areas of influence. We need to keep working in this recognition from the community that could enable us for the opening of new programs such as school support and dances expanding our coverage in needs and preferences of children.

The Story

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What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

The main victims of this internal conflict in Colombia are children. Parents from displaced by violence families struggle to support them, they have restricted access to school and are left alone at risk of falling into a life of drugs and crime.
COLOMBIANITOS is dedicated to bring hope of a better future to these children, giving them the means and the tools to lead a normal and healthy life and try to alleviate the physical and mental pain brought on by this merciless war.
COLOMBIANITOS focuses on the children, because they are the country’s future; we realize that a stable youth is Colombia’s only hope for future peace and reconstruction.

The Pilot Program in Bogotá, one of Colombia’s poorest and most violent areas, was founded in June 2002 as an informal football tournament with the participation 150 boys and girls. The passion children have for football is what gets them involved. Football is transformed into a tool that is used to teach children values. COLOMBIANITOS allows boys and girls to dream of becoming football stars and makes them better human beings in the process. Through the codes of football we teach them to dream, believe in their potential and in the possibility of real progress in their lives. Keeping children attending school, and using their spare time wisely by attending football training and other activities provided by “Goals for a Better Life”, distances them from the dangers exhibited on the street.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

COLOMBIANITOS was founded in 2001 by a group of Colombian professionals that live in Atlanta, USA. Their motivation was to give back to their country, to accomplish this they created programs to help children impacted by violence and extreme poverty. In 2001 a Rehabilitation Program was created to provide prosthesis and rehabilitation to children affected by landmine explosions. In 2002 and with the dream to reach more children in need, COLOMBIANITOS created an integrated education program: Goals for a Better Life, an extremely successful program in reducing crime and drug addiction and promoting education through the use of football.
The Goals for a Better Life Program includes healthy recreation as a fundamental part of the development of an individual. With a flat field, football balls and trainers, we use the power of football to keep the children engaged with academics and healthy activities, while keeping them off the streets, and reducing their chances of falling into a life of crime. COLOMBIANITOS lets boys and girls dream of becoming football stars and makes them better human beings in the process. Through the codes of football we teach them to dream, believe in their potential and in the possibility of real progress in their lives

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Email from Changemakers

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

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219 weeks ago Renata Affonso said: Hi Erika, It is great to see you here. It is fantastic that you managed to publish your entry. At the moment I am working and ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
219 weeks ago Erika Lopez updated this Competition Entry.
225 weeks ago Erika Lopez submitted this idea.