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LGBTQ Youth Athletes Should ​‘Play Proud’

By Coco McPherson, Good Sports

Whether you call it soccer, football, or “the beautiful game,” it’s a global phenomenon.

Played in stadiums, in streets, and in dusty fields all over the world, the game will seize the international spotlight later in June when Russia hosts the 2018 FIFA World Cup in 11 cities — from Sochi to St. Petersburg.

Play Proud is a vital new initiative from Streetfootballworld USA designed to protect some of soccer’s most vulnerable players, and June is Pride Month.

The face of the campaign is American soccer star Megan Rapinoe, a member of the 2015 World Cup team that won gold in Vancouver, Canada. Rapinoe plays for the Seattle Reign FC, one of the founding teams of the National Women’s Soccer League. Proudly out, Rapinoe says that growing up, she would have benefitted from Play Proud’s core mandate of making youth soccer more inclusive and coaches more aware.

Rapinoe believes sports environments have traditionally not been safe spaces for LGBTQ youth, but she hopes this initiative will help change that for the next generation.

Sometimes kids in the sports system can feel like they’re alone or like they don’t have anybody to talk to,” she said in the promotional video for the campaign. “Coaches want to do what’s right, they just don’t know how or they don’t know how to get  information.”

Play Proud is the brainchild of Lilli Barrett-O’Keefe, regional manager for Streetfootballworld USA, a global network of over 125 soccer-based non-profits in 80 countries helping to tackle social issues impacting young people. These include homelessness, gender-based violence, and gang culture. Now, having seen a tremendous need, Play Proud seeks to make youth soccer a safe space by educating coaches and staff about the challenges facing LGBTQ youth.

Among those challenges: a widespread perception that their communities don’t accept them and that youth sports is not safe or welcoming, which is likely preventing participation. According to recent data, LGBTQ youth are twice as likely as their peers to be physically assaulted in school and half as likely to participate in organized sports.

Read the full article here.

French Sports Organizations Commit to Wide-Ranging Sustainability Charter

Committees, bodies and venues make 15 pledges, related to catering, transport, procurement, waste and energy devised by French government and WWF.

French sports minister Laura Flessel with all the signatories in Paris yesterday (11 June)

French sports minister Laura Flessel with all the signatories in Paris yesterday (11 June)

More than 100 committees, organisations and venues in the French sport sector have made commitments to reduce their environmental impact by signing a charter of 15 eco-responsibilities.

Gathered together by French sports minister Laura Flessel, the signatories made pledges regarding sustainable food, transport, procurement, waste and natural resources, among others.

The commitments have been developed by the Ministry of Sport in France and the WWF, who will put together an annual report tracking the progress of those signing up to the strategy.

Over the next three years, organisations have committed to:

  • Providing 50% of catering for participants, spectators and staff from sustainable sources. These choices must comply with WWF recommendations (100% certified seasonal catering options, preference to local/regional suppliers etc), and include healthy options. A tracking system to reduce waste must also be in place;
  • Making 80% of journeys completed by spectators, sportspeople and employees happen through active mobility (walking, bike etc), transport and car sharing;
  • Purchasing 80% of their products using a corporate social responsibility selection criteria;
  • Reducing waste by 25% and reuse, recycle or recover 60% of waste; and
  • Consuming 25% of energy from renewable sources

The full list of commitments and timescales can be found below:

Read the full article here.

Twin Cities Charities Divert Tons of Waste From Super Bowl

Star Tribune
Twin Cities nonprofits have kept the Super Bowl leftovers from landfills. 

 

he Salvation Army is acting as a distribution hub for Super Bowl LII leftovers. Above, marketing director Michelle Wong with some of the donated items and food.

The Salvation Army is acting as a distribution hub for Super Bowl LII leftovers. Above, marketing director Michelle Wong with some of the donated items and food. Photo Source: Star Tribune

What could have become a giant dump of Super Bowl leftovers from U.S. Bank Stadium, the Convention Center and Nicollet Mall is instead being reused and repurposed by more than 20 local charities.

The Salvation Army has collected more than 1 million square feet of mesh fencing, banners and carpeting used before and during the Super Bowl and is distributing the materials to other local charities.

Then there’s the miscellaneous — the Kitten Bowl set, pallets of hand warmers, food and beverages, and supplies such as desks, pens, pencils and Post-it notes for more than 100 offices in the temporary headquarters.

“No one wants to take those supplies back with them, so we donate them to charities to use in classrooms,” said Jack Groh, director of the NFL Environmental Program, which facilitates the material recovery project. “It’s more than 2,000 pounds of supplies.”

More than 16 months ago, the National Football League’s Environmental Program began building a network of charities to use Super Bowl leftovers instead of sending them to the landfill.

“We’re the first pro sports league to do this,” Groh said. ”The initiative started 25 years ago and now we do it at major sports events like the Super Bowl, the Pro Bowl and the draft.”

The Twin Cities Salvation Army took the lead by acting as a distribution hub for nearly all the items. It used most of its fleet of 18 donation trucks to collect the materials from four major sites and transported it to its warehouse and store at 900 N. 4th St. in Minneapolis. From there, the other 21 charities could pick up what was useful for them.

“It’s an enormous amount of stuff,” said Tom Canfield, administrator of operations for Twin Cities Salvation Army.

Read the full story.

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