For over a decade, Creative Player Sports, Inc. has reached thousands of young soccer players in Charlotte with its soccer learning system. Their motto: Soccer knows no language.
“I like to take action. That’s why I created my foundation to help people in need,” said Daniel Araujo, Founder of Creative Player Foundation. "
The foundation provides a sense of community and support for at-risk Charlotte youth through soccer and character building exercises, to help players become more disciplined, healthy and well-rounded leaders.
“The soccer ball can bring people together from all backgrounds,” he said. “When I came (to the United States) in 1998, I didn’t even know how to say good morning, hello, in English.”
The Creative Player Foundation serves the Charlotte inner city and surrounding areas where the youth poverty rate is 36% for African American children and 39% for Hispanic children.
In 2018, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina announced that it is investing $150,000 over a three-year period in the Creative Player Foundation of West Charlotte.
Youth living in these areas have limited access and opportunities to participate in sports and other programs that provide them a supportive community of peers and mentors.
Research shows that participation in youth sports improves physical and mental health, lowers crime and increases college enrollment rates.
“Soccer is life. What happens in the soccer field happens in real life. That’s why we use this as a life lesson. Commitment, hard work, discipline, teamwork, be willing to change if your doing something wrong.”
“All children should have the opportunity to experience the sense of community, teamwork and leadership skills learned through organized sports,” said Mike Restaino, Blue Cross NC district manager of community relations. “Through Blue Cross NC’s commitment to diversity, we want to remove the barriers that prevent children from pursuing the activities they love and invest in a healthier, more promising future.”
Blue Cross NC’s investment will allow the Creative Player Foundation to expand programs in West Charlotte and help remove the socioeconomic and cultural barriers that prevent children in at-risk communities from participating in sports due to high costs.
“This program is like water in the desert for the children we reach in the Charlotte inner city,” said Daniel Araujo, founder of Creative Player Foundation. “The investment from Blue Cross NC will have an enormous impact on our ability to provide a more promising future for the children we coach and mentor.”
According to a 2017 report, 35% of children in Charlotte elementary and middle schools are considered low socioeconomic status students.
The score was based on the following factors: English language ability, family composition, family income, home ownership and parental education attainment. Most low SES students live in the center and western sections of Charlotte – the same area served by the Creative Player Foundation.
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