28 Jun GFA plays host to Project U “Fun Friday”
[June 25, 2021 – Harmon, Guam] More than 30 participants and their respective mentors selected soccer at Guam Football Association as their “Fun Friday” activity as part of Project U Summer Youth Program, spearheaded by the Guam Police Department’s Juvenile Investigation Section.
“On behalf of GFA, I am pleased to continue a partnership with the Guam Police Department, and also with Mañe’lu, in their community programs for Guam’s youth,” said Tino San Gil, GFA President. “We are always open to collaborating with other organizations in Guam, especially with programs to benefit and develop our young members in the local community, like Project U Summer Youth Program.”
The program’s “Fun Friday” activity is organized by Mañe’lu in partnership with multiple sports and government organizations such as GFA, Guam Rugby Union, Guam Hammers Volleyball, Ritidian Wildlife Refuge, and University of Guam Triton Farms, said Shannon Siguenza, a project coordinator with Mañe’lu’s Micronesian Resource Center One-Stop Shop.
“The summer program rolled out for the first time just this summer and focuses on teaching responsible citizenship, core values, and positive decision-making,” Siguenza said. “It is part of a larger community initiative focused on community education, crime enforcement, and campaigning on social media with #ProjectGU. The project aligns GPD, youth, and school-based outreach efforts under one project for a multidisciplinary and holistic approach.
“The inclusion of sports and activity in individual and community development is essential. Sports and activity not only build skills in leadership, commitment, and cooperation, they also develop skills that are useful in workforce, add experience valuable to resumes, and are powerful tools in building individual empowerment,” Siguenza added.
Participants took part in an hour-long yoga session at the GFA Lanai before joining GFA coaches on the pitch for football-related skills stations. GFA Assistant Technical Director Ross Awa led a fun warm-up session for all participants and after, coaches Sam San Gil, Ashley Besagar, Thomas Castro, and Kimberly Sherman facilitated activity stations for passing, running with the ball, dribbling, and shooting. Participants with the top three fastest times at each skill station were awarded a GFA medal. After a break for lunch with food provided by Jamaican Grill, the participants played fun, small-sided matches at GFA’s Futsal Courts.
The program also includes different themed activities during the week:
- Mentor Monday: Quality time with GPD mentors, where participants learn principles and discipline that shape the characteristics and qualities of a good police officer and citizen
- Trades Tuesday: Guam Contractors Association Trades Academy programming gives access to different basics in the construction trades world
- Wellness Wednesday: Guam Behavioral Health provides education on mental health and behavioral wellness
- Thrive Thursday: Prevention strategies for multiple social/emotional issues from substance abuse to suicide
- Fun Friday: Mañe’lu’s Day – a sports/activity focused day done in partnership with multiple sports and government associations
“It truly takes a village to build a single child and full-force community efforts to build the community toward a positive vision,” Siguenza said. “Our community’s willingness to collaborate and partner means that nonprofit organizations and government agencies can grow and polish their expertise to focus on one or two aspects of community building. Partnerships and collaborations allow us to realize a powerhouse of effort supported by experts and masters of skills and practice. Additionally, the collaborations allow us to share resources and knowledge to create and sustain strong foundations of overall betterment.
“I’d like to thank all the program partners for realizing this program and making it a success. The community can definitely expect to see partnerships like these continue. With time, the goal is to establish a positive cycle of youth empowering youth, community members who play active roles in these efforts, and maybe one day we can realize a sense of wholeness and wellness for all who call Guåhan home,” Siguenza added.