MPI Nicaragua organizes and coaches youth in lacrosse, soccer and baseball programs. Through the sports teams, Program Directors have the opportunity to establish mentoring relationships that positively impact players and also help develop our presence in the community. Providing youths with this structured outlet fosters self-esteem and teamwork within the community. Players also reap the physical benefits of an active lifestyle. Participation in sports programs ideally decreases the tendency towards teenage pregnancy in girls and the tendency towards gang related violence in boys. In addition, through the competitive games, MPI works with partner organizations to connect the communities in the area surrounding Chiquilistagua and in La Chureca.
Partnering with Lacrosse the Nations (LtN), one of MPI's Program Directors, Javier Silva, works daily at the Public School of Chiquilistagua. Working with two local coaches daily, Edwin and Luis, Javier helps implement the like skills curriculum into each class while also supporting their lacrosse knowledge. Since arriving in July 2012, Javier has developed a system for tracking attendance and participation as well as inspiring our coaches to be mentors to 650+ students in grades 2-11.
Lacrosse the Nations (501c3) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to using the sport of lacrosse to sustainably improve education and health while creating hope and opportunity for children in need. As an organization, the aim is to “give it away”—sharing a sport which has taught its players so much about others and themselves. With the game as a conduit and field as a platform, LtN’s approach includes:
- An integrated life skills curriculum
- A supplemental nutrition program,
- Monthly field trips
- A scholarship program for our local coaches.
Girls' Soccer Team
PDs currently coach a girls’ soccer team with almost twenty girls from ages ten to eighteen. The team practices every Friday for three hours at EL Salero which is the nearby community center and belongs to one of our partner organizations, Alongside Ministries. MPI also organizes friendly matches with teams in the surrounding area, including the girls' soccer team in La Chureca, sponsored by another partner organization, Juntos Contigo.
Boys' Soccer Team
The boys' soccer team practices twice a week and periodically enters leagues in both indoor and outdoor soccer. The friendly yet competitive environment draws many young men from the community and has helped MPI build relationships with a population that can be difficult to reach with other programs. The outdoor team has fifteen players between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five and plays in a league run by the Nicaraguan Christian Academy. The indoor team plays in relampago (lightning) tournaments. Both the indoor and outdoor teams play at El Salero. The teams practice Tuesdays and Thursdays for two hours.
The PDs in charge of Manna’s baseball program coach a group of about fifteen 12-13 year olds from Chiquilistagua. The team competes in a youth baseball league which is comprised of various teams from neighboring communities, such as Solano and Nejapa Arriba. During the season, the team practices every Wednesday afternoon and plays a double-header every Saturday morning. The baseball program is great for two main reasons: 1) It connects kids from neighboring communities and 2) It is a great opportunity for the young boys to spend their free time in a positive environment.