Chief Executive Officer and Founder,
Sports for Sharing
By Adam Smiley Poswolsky
In 2007, wanting to a make a difference in the lives of young people in Mexico facing risks of obesity, corruption, and violence, Dina Buchbinder founded Sports for Sharing (Deport-es para Compartir), an educational and civic program that uses fun, healthy physical activities to teach children values, and helps them relate to the global issues depicted in the Millennium Development Goals. Sports for Sharing, which to date has worked with over 59,000 children in Mexico, believes that youth engagement through sports triggers young people’s potential to become positive change agents within their communities. Sports for Sharing is the main program of the United Nations Association in Mexico (UNA Mexico) and its Youth organization (UNYA Mexico). Earlier this year, Dina and her team raised $2,330 on StartSomeGood to send children to a week-long Sports for Sharing camp, free of charge. I had the opportunity to interview Dina about her passion for youth development and Sports for Sharing’s future plans to work in other countries in Latin America, as well as with minorities or marginalized communities in the United States.
What is your story? How did you get involved with working with youth?
I’ve always been interested in helping others, and growing up I volunteered at children’s initiatives, senior homes, and centers for disabled persons. Children in particular inspire me to act and to do my best, so when I graduated from university, I decided I wanted to make a difference in children’s lives. I founded Sports for Sharing in 2007, with the idea that children have enormous potential and need to learn values that will eventually shape the way they lead their lives. Children have the power to become the conscious global citizens we all want to see, and we need to invest our time and effort in them. Imagine what our planet would look like today if our world leaders had each learned to play fair when they were young?
How does Sports for Sharing use sports and games, and education about the Millenium Development Goals, to teach children about global awareness?
Sports for Sharing is a unique educational and civic program that uses fun, healthy physical activities to teach children social values, and also helps them relate to the global issues depicted in the Millennium Development Goals. In our program, children participate in physical games, engage in dialogue about global issues, and learn about teamwork, all through the fun of sports and games. We teach children, as well as their parents and teachers, to become better neighbors by identifying problems, and then to find the solutions to these problems, using a methodology that integrates experiential learning.
What kind of success has your program had so far?
Since 2007, Sports for Sharing has worked with over 59,000 children, nearly 1,800 teachers, and over 89,000 parents in 740 education centers throughout Mexico. These numbers can be translated into tens of thousands of citizens that feel responsible for the global challenges that begin in their communities, citizens who value teamwork, who are empathetic, tolerant, and critical thinkers. According to our impact evaluations from schools in Veracruz in 2012, more than 25% of the students we worked with are now aware of gender equality and its importance; and more students now prefer teamwork over working alone, have practiced the value of tolerance, and now avoid cheating.
What are your plans and goals for the future?
At the moment, we are developing a new model for expansion into Latin America, as well as with minorities or marginalized communities in the United States. Our plan is to do this through a model called “social franchising.” It works just like a franchise, but without financial profits as its goal. We believe many more children deserve the opportunity to experience a program in which they discover that their ideas have an impact on world challenges.
Adam Smiley Poswolsky
I am a writer, editor, and social change inspirer. I am a StartingBloc Social Innovation Fellow, and I care about supporting social entrepreneurs and encouraging people to live out their full potential in life. For the last two years, I worked at the U.S. Peace Corps, writing speeches and working on special projects including President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. Prior, I received my BA in film studies from Wesleyan University and worked as a film producer and location scout. I live in San Francisco, but I travel often, mostly by dancing and smiling. Check out my blog and follow me onTwitter