We are always happy to welcome community groups into the gym to build confidence, get active, and have a blast. Last month, Soccer Without Boarders, an Oakland non-profit, visited Berkeley Ironworks for a day of climbing. SWB Oakland creates positive team communities for recently arrived refugee and immigrant youth. Harnessing the power of soccer as a universal language, the Oakland program engages newcomer, English Language Learning youth from more than 25 countries. As youth adjust to their new and often difficult circumstances, their SWB team provides an avenue for positive engagement. In a safe and supportive environment, youth build meaningful friendships, community connections and powerful mentor/mentee relationships, which play an important role in their successful integration into their new lives in the US.
We received this thank you letter from founder Ben Gucciardi:
On behalf of all the youth in Soccer Without Borders, I just wanted to extend my sincere thank you for taking the time to host our young people at Berkeley Iron Works . The kids really had so much fun, and the experience challenged them and brought them closer together. For 98% of our kids, the trip marked the first time they have ever been climbing, and they were all beaming when we returned from the trip. As refugee and immigrant students who just arrived to the US and are living in East Oakland, our youth are some of the most vulnerable in the East Bay, and it meant a great deal to them to have this experience.
You and your staff, especially Ryan, Michelle, Jeff and Jerome, have been so great to work with!
With much gratitude and appreciation,