Preventing the BORDER CRISIS by Building School & Team Spirit in Zaragoza

101_0078As nearly all Americans are now aware, there has been a large influx of undocumented children coming to the United States alone or unattended by their parents.  While this issue raises many political questions at home in the US, it also creates an opportunity to discuss preventative actions that can be taken in Central America to reduce the push (reasons to leave) from the region.

The United States has always been a beacon to immigrants from around the world but it is the current ‘push’ of factors from within Latin American countries that are behind this recent influx.  But, here is one thing that your support has already done to change that dynamic.  COAR’s school is an award winning, United Nations recognized school.   COAR offers pre-K through high school programs to over 880 students from the surrounding area beyond serving just our own COAR children.

Each May 1st, COAR holds an Intramural Day.  This event is big.  You could say that it is the equivalent of holding a high school football superbowl in Texas.  All of the children participate.  Parents and friends come to COAR to watch the games and root for their children and for their neighbors.  The most anticipated events are the soccer games (various age levels) but there are many different sports and activities included.  The students prepare special decorations for the day.  The band and cheerleaders prepare special music.  There is even the Presentation of the Candidates for COAR’s Queen who is crowned in July.    For many kids – especially our own dear COAR kids – this is a chance to standout and to shine.

Importantly, what COAR’s Intramural Day gives the entire community is a sense of great pride, fun and community spirit.  So often, schools are viewed simply in their important function as academic institutions.  However, schools also serve to create a sense of community and shared civic pride.  Currently, when so much of El Salvador is mired in gang violence and poverty, this is a chance to see the best in each kid — and to see the best in themselves.  Through letters written by our COAR kids, we can see that the older students take pride in routing for their favorite elementary class to win the soccer game.  This event is community building both inside of COAR and within the great community of Zaragoza.

Hope, Joy and Pride.  These are three direct results of COAR’s Intramural Day each year.  No matter how much of a ‘pull’ there is from the North,  no matter how much of a push is coming from local gangs, COAR creates a community-wide celebration of life …of Life In El Salvador…which is the best antidote available.  Go kids, go COAR, go ZARAGOZA!