"Calciosociale" (Socialsoccer Association) was founded in 2005 and its operations are based on the objective of organizing friendly and welcoming activities for children and teenagers with psychomotor impairment, who may be victims of difficult economic solutions, social marginalizations, drug addictions or domestic violence. Thanks to the active cooperation of ten highly experienced educators within the youth sector, socialsoccer is able to promote the rehabilitation of youngsters with difficult economic and domestic circumstances, social integration issues and/or physical disabilities through an especially designed sport methodology developed on the principles of peer - education... read more "Calciosociale" (Socialsoccer Association) was founded in 2005 and its operations are based on the objective of organizing friendly and welcoming activities for children and teenagers with psychomotor impairment, who may be victims of difficult economic solutions, social marginalizations, drug addictions or domestic violence. Thanks to the active cooperation of ten highly experienced educators within the youth sector, socialsoccer is able to promote the rehabilitation of youngsters with difficult economic and domestic circumstances, social integration issues and/or physical disabilities through an especially designed sport methodology developed on the principles of peer - education. It is important to stress how, over the last years, the work done al Calciosociale has been defined by many government and public institutions such as ASL and Rome's Tribunale Penale (Health Ministry and Justice Ministry), as socially useful and able to provide tangible support to the more needy members of the community, like prisoners, drug addicts in rehab and individuals with disabilities. Currently, the activities carried out by Calciosociale involve over 3000 families. As of today socialsoccer's activities are present on the Italian territory in multiple locations: Rome Corviale neighbourhood; Montevarchi, just outside the city of Arezzo and Empoli, both cities in the Region of Toscany; Naples, Scampia neighbourhood; on the island of Sardinia in Quarto S. Elena; and, Carsoli in the Region of Abruzzo. Every year Calciosociale promotes partnerships and summer camps with the aim of sharing resources amongst the existing centres and improving the impact of their activities. What is socialsoccer program and who is addressed to: Socialsoccer is an inclusive soccer system, as opposed to the exclusivity of traditional soccer. His goal is to activate local communities through children playing soccer and their families. Socialsoccer's innovation tackles two separate social issues: 1) the isolation and lack of opportunities for young residents of urban peripheries; 2) the violence and discrimination embedded in the practice of soccer. We see soccer as a powerful means to engage and empower young people, especially in countries where it is the dominant sport. But the current system, at all levels, embodies and spreads negative values such as bullying, social exclusion, as well as extreme and exclusionary competitiveness. Traditional soccer schools accept children until they are 13 years old. From that moment onwards, a fierce selection is made: only talented players can continue to play. Through the whole reformulation and enrichment of the rules of soccer, Socialsoccer includes people with different talent levels and ages to contribute to the team and to be active in their local communities. In Europe and Latin America, soccer is the main sport for boys and young men, and it embodies masculinity. Socialsoccer has created new rules to play soccer, in order to educate children and young people on inclusion-the rule of law and respect for diversity. He began his activities in one of the poorest areas of the country, Corviale, at the periphery of Rome. In Corviale, school dropout is the norm, unemployment is widespread, and lawlessness is common. Regular soccer could provide a structured form of teamwork and respect for rules, but it does not leave room for inclusion of the weaker members of the society. The opposite, unfortunately, is true. Violence, racism, sexism, homophobia and social exclusion are systemic parts of soccer. Socialsoccer re-defines the rules of soccer to give players the role of "caretakers" (or guardians) towards weaker members of the local community, by making them act as changemakers for the entire community. Socialsoccer's goal is to motivate young people to become changemakers and recreate the spirit of community among people of different ages, social and economic backgrounds, that he used to see in the past. Through Socialsoccer, we obtain the following: a) creates a counter-narrative against violence and unfair play, b) builds good habits where weekly games become an aggregation moment for the community and c) transforms the soccer field into a modern square where everyone can be a positive activist for the community. Concretely, what does this mean? First of all, disabled, talented, average, weak players, girls, boys, independently from religion, culture and social status, play together. The beneficiaries of this program are therefore numerous and to name a few, we may find socio-economically challenged teenagers, adolescents under justice restrictions or with psychophysical impairments, immigrants or Roma adolescents, drug-addicts or victims of domestic violence, and simply soccer-loving teens. Then, each team's composition is unique: the teams are are built in order to guarantee the same strength level and fair opportunities. There is no referee during the match, however each team has its "educator", who plays with the rest of the team but is the one in charge for the educational and technical decisions. These are just a few examples showing the innovative character of the rules implemented by this program allowing children to feel part of a community and providing a model of society where facing problems does not mean marginalization or discrimination but an actual opportunity for integration. The game is not only played in the pitch: The most important game is to be played outside the pitch. With socialsoccer, what may be seen as common soccer fields are transformed in "life training areas", where each participant develops his or her own educational path. This personal journey is permitted by a series of distinct activities; working together for the community, studying and taking part to a common ground of legality, spirituality and sustainable development. In addition, these activities are based on the principles of participatory development; which involves the contribution of the participants' families and friends. Socialsoccer was born in Corviale, a deprived suburban of Rome, famous for hosting one of the largest public housing structures in the world, known as the "Serpentone". This structure, built during the 1970s, was projected by the local municipality in close cooperation with a team of architects lead by Mario Fiorentino. The structure is a 9-floored building stretched out on 1km with two basements and one cellar and provides 1,202 apartments in total. The Corviale-Casetta Mattei neighbourhood accounts for 16,000 inhabitants, of which 6,000 now live within the "Serpentone", while the whole area belonging to the XI Municipality of Rome reaches about 180,000 inhabitants. This area of the city is exposed to higher rates of marginalization, especially among young adults, compared to the rest of the city's averages. Early school dropouts, youth unemployment, adolescents under juridical measures and Roma integration are important issues to deal with. We strongly believe that socialsoccer can represent and champion an effective educational tool, which will allow the youth to be pleasantly "hooked" and to build with them a new educational path, where they will learn a new way of living, rooted in the principles of integration, legality, equality and finally win the big game of life! The multifunctional centre "Campo dei Miracoli": Since the socialsoccer program has started, it rapidly gained a great success. For this reason, we thought to build it a wider and structured unit, which would work as fertile ground for the socialsoccer's pedagogic universe. The name of this structure is "Campo dei Miracoli", located in Corviale (Rome), next to the "The Serpentone" public housing. It has been conceived as a multifunctional and public centre, where participants can access soccer fields, a gym for paralympic games, a study-room, swimming pool and social restaurant. The basic idea is to integrate the innovative rules of the sport with pedagogic activities. This union has the extraordinary power to engage youth and let them undertake a new path of change which so far has been impossible to achieve by different educational means. The construction of "Campo dei Miracoli" centre has already started, thanks to a starting loan made by public institutions and private corporations (such as, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Vodafone Foundation and the Province of Rome), and it is designed and realized according to the bio-architecture criteria (natural and recycled raw materials, energy saving principles, green energy, ). Following one of socialsoccer's values, all the participants to the program have been involved in the construction process, as well as some inhabitants of the Corviale neighbourhood: in this way, everyone is able to "feel" in fact responsible for a common space to take care of. One main example of such participatory work was the construction, made by the soccer teams, of the gym's ceiling for which we used barks of wood discarded by firms.
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