Sports are used across the globe as a social and educational tool to promote leadership, foster role models, and support teamwork. A community youth sports program in South Africa offers positive life skills and a healthy environment for youth dialogue.
This film documents a provincial soccer star in the poor neighborhood of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Nolusindiso "Titie" Plaatje works with an innovative soccer program, Grassroot Soccer, to educate local youth and mobilize communities around HIV/AIDS prevention. Soccer plays a large role in many local cultures around the world and the founders of Grassroot Soccer believe that the popularity of soccer can engage hard-to-reach young people. Their curriculum is based on a social learning theory, which includes these three core principles:
- Kids learn best from people they respect
- Learning is not a spectator sport
- It takes a village
Adolescents 10-19 years of age are especially vulnerable to HIV due to the increased risk-taking behavior characteristic to this period of life.* In 1981, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the first official report on the AIDS epidemic. The CDC also reported that, in the United States, HIV remains mainly an urban disease; the majority of individuals diagnosed with AIDS in 2011 lived in areas with 500,000 people or more. In the U.S., African Americans account for nearly half of the new infections at 44 percent and Latinos account for 19 percent of people living with HIV. Poverty also increases HIV risk due to limited access to healthcare, HIV testing, and medications. By 1994, AIDS had become the leading cause of death for all Americans ages 25-44. Since the first identification over three decades ago, almost 35 million people have been infected with the HIV virus, with sub-Saharan Africa remaining the most severely affected.** Researchers are currently working to find a vaccine.
Connections to National Standards
Common Core English Language Arts. SL.9-10.1 and SL.11-12.1. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 [or 11-12] topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies. D2.Geo.5.9-12. Evaluate how political and economic decisions throughout time have influenced cultural and environmental characteristics of various places and regions.
Next Generation Science Standards. HS-LS2-8. Evaluate the evidence for the role of group behavior on individual and species' chances to survive and reproduce.