The Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) and American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) partnered in the implementation of Peace Through Sport. The two-year Peace Through Sport program was generously funded by the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. The impact of this program on teachers and participants in Lebanon and the United States was impressive and exciting.
683 young people between the ages of 14-25 years old came together over eight rounds. Each of the rounds was eight weeks long and included hands-on activities within participants' local communities, four virtual calls connecting them with their peers in the other country, presentations by two sports related guest speakers, a deep dive of their community, the implementation of a service-learning project to benefit their community, and asynchronous connections via WhatsApp. 423 young people in Lebanon participated from areas such as Saida, Tyre, Tripoli, Akkar, Kherbet Rouha, and Beirut. 260 participants in the United States came from areas such as Maryland, West Virginia, and Tennessee.
58 teachers were trained to successfully present the Peace Through Sport curriculum in both countries. Forty teachers were trained in Lebanon, and 18 teachers were trained in the United States. The teachers worked with staff from MLI and ANERA to learn how to effectively implement the program activities and how to guide the youth through projects, discussions, and the creation of impactful service-learning projects.
26 service learning projects were completed during the two year grant period. These projects benefitted more than 7,000 people in the United States and Lebanon. Projects included clean-up of areas; kindness rocks; fun day for young people with special needs; support and kind acts for children in hospitals and people living in assisted living facilities; prison reform; raising awareness to drug abuse and violent behavior; providing clothes, toys and cleaning supplies to orphanage; support for homeless veterans; providing medical supplies to a local burn unit; donating food to feed families in need; support of animal shelters; donation of school supplies; and renovation of a therapy center dedicated to serving children with disabilities.
16 guest speakers joined the participants and shared messages of values learned through their journeys in sport. Speakers came from a variety of sports including lacrosse, distance running, pickle ball, hand cycling, biking, surfing, skiing, hockey, weight lifting, skateboarding, soccer, and basketball. The speakers discussed values such as the importance of team, mental toughness, perseverance, responsibility, respect, and empathy. During one of the last sessions, Drew Dudley from Day One Leadership spoke to the students about small moments and how their actions can have a huge impact.
Peace Through Sport was made possible by generous funding from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. The incredible impact of the program was made possible by the amazing teachers and youth who participated in the program.
Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair." - Nelson Mandela
Thanks to the Peace Through Sport program, the participating youth, teachers, and staff realized their power to change the world, to unite people, and to create hope.