Oro Molido Football Club

“Passion for sport and its power to teach conflict resolution and healthy habits.”
It’s almost 3 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon in the community of Murrapal, situated in the southwest region of Antioquia in Colombia. Juan Pablo Quiroz, a 16-year-old student from the local school, is really excited and getting ready to go train with the Oro Molido Football Club after his classes. For the next 3 hours, Juan Pablo and his friends will be having fun and improving their coordination and playing skills away from computers and cellphone screens.

The scenery is serene, surrounded by mountains and coffee plantations. Students arrive from different communities nearby, some walking more than half an hour, three times a week to practice. Their coach Pablo Gomez welcomes them and explains the activities they will be developing that day; then off they go for a warm up, drills and finally a practice game.

This concept is not common in rural communities where children and youth do not typically have opportunities to enjoy or develop skills. Once school lets out, there is little to do in their communities, and afternoons are passed on digital platforms or engaging with negative influences.

The Oro Molido Foundation is providing a valuable opportunity for children to spend their free time enjoying a sport, and learning and socializing in a healthy environment. Students at the Football club learn how to take care of their bodies and acquire healthy habits. Additionally, students learn how to solve differences and to control their emotions by means of dialogue. These emotional intelligence tools lend to improved mental health as well healthier conflict resolution methods in communities where violence is often considered the primary way to resolve differences.

We have seen evidence of improved conflict resolution as demonstrated by one of our teams that has, more than once, been awarded the, “Fair Game Award,” because of their avoidance of confrontation in a contact sport, as well as for the respect they show to the referee and players from other teams.

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