On Friday, Jan. 31, the Philadelphia Union Foundation hosted a PowerPoint presentation to students at YSC Academy to discuss the importance of giving back to the community. The presentation primarily focused on educating youth and promoting values such as integrity, trust, respect and accountability.
The event addressed how soccer can be used as a tool for social change. Rick Jacobs, the keynote speaker and executive director of the Philadelphia Union Foundation, discussed how students now have a chance to change their community by giving back in their own unique way.
Students here have the opportunity to get something from the game and have the chance to give back. “The plan is to go beyond the soccer fields and give back, because that’s what it’s all about,” said Jacobs.
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Many athletes are living examples that excellence is a reinforcing value for success. Jacobs went on to connect the game of soccer to real life. “In a game, you are constantly thinking about the next play. Where am I taking this touch? Where is my next pass going? Where can I change the game?” said Jacobs. “In life, your vision should always be up. Look to see where you can make the greatest impact -- where can I make a change?”
While the Foundation is still young, it has already completed many projects. As part of its efforts to give back to the community, the presentation reiterated the critical need for change in Chester. Jacobs encouraged students to think about what they can do to make a difference in Chester.
“You can’t do 1,000 things, but one small thing can make a difference,” said Jacobs who believes that giving back and helping out within the community is something that everyone should be involved with.
The Foundation presentation not only focused on giving back, but also becoming a well-rounded person. It aims to provide a positive impact in character development by developing athletes into men that can connect the skills learned on the field to real life. “It is important to complete the circle,” said Jacobs. “Not only developing as an athlete, but as a person and player.”
The YSC Academy students understand that giving as much on the field as off the field is the ultimate success in life. The off field wins can be seen through volunteering with charitable outreach programs and community initiatives. The students already came up with their own ideas such as Breast Cancer Awareness walks, soccer tennis tournament and AIDS and HIV fundraisers.
After the warming applause, the students broke into groups to continue working on their community projects that will be used in conjunction with the Foundation over the new few months.
Perhaps the one great thing of note: throughout the hour long presentation, Jacobs routinely came back to one phrase: “You have to willingly sacrifice.”
He describes those who want the quick rewards are those who do not willingly sacrifice. To Jacobs, selfless sacrifice reap rewards down the road that becomes apart of you -- and it's this notion that can become the cornerstone for success.
For more on Philadelphia Union Foundation and its mission, visit: http://www.philadelphiaunion.com/foundation
Union intern Jaclyn Cammarata authored this report