At Tiempo de Juego, Colombian Youth Turn from Violence to Football

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Synthetic turf donation to non-profit youth group provides at-risk children a safe, high quality playing surface to keep them off the streets and on the field. The new artificial turf field was provided by Act Global, partner PSport Systems and several other suppliers.

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Children enjoy the new synthetic turf field at Tiempo de Juego in Cazuca, Colombia.

We have formed a team of fantastic people and companies with the same vision, to benefit a young group of kids that have what we call ‘el sueño del Pibe’ -- the dream to become a football player and help their families.

In the particularly marginalized and violent area of Cazuca, Colombia, young people for years have turned to gangs, drugs and outlaw groups to fill their free time.

Now, thanks to non-profit Tiempo de Juego and their new artificial turf pitch, children are finding inclusion on the football field instead of the streets.

Synthetic turf manufacturer Act Global and installation partner PSport Systems, along with several other suppliers, helped Tiempo de Juego achieve their dream project by donating the new artificial turf playing surface. The field was officially opened for use October 19.

“It is a constant satisfaction to make a social impact; this makes us fall in love with our business more and more every time,” said Pedro Sarmiento, PSport Systems. “We have formed a team of fantastic people and companies with the same feeling and vision to develop a project in a place where it is truly needed--to benefit a young group of kids that have what we call ‘el sueño del Pibe’, the dream to become a football player and help their families.”

Tiempo de Juego was established in 2006 following a three-year study of Cazuca youth, conducted by the Universidad de la Sabana. Researchers found that lack of education and excess free time, along with a 70 percent displaced population, were the main drivers towards drugs, violence and early pregnancies among youth. Tiempo de Juego seeks to provide children positive social alternatives to foster a better quality of life.

Using sports as a tool for physical activity and value formation, combined with cultural and educational programs, Tiempo de Juego has begun to change lives. Through the game of football, the non-profit teaches principles of team work, fair play, tolerance, gender equity and respect, while providing a safe and positive place to play.

Further, older participants assume the role of “peer-coaches” to lead younger players in the football programs. Thus, children further develop leadership skills through coaching peers and leading by example.

“It has been an honor to be a part of this project to support Tiempo de Juego, as well as the children and families of Colombia,” said John Baize, managing director of Act Global. “We hope we’ve helped create a safe and inviting space for these children to play, learn, socialize, and ultimately, to just enjoy being kids.”

Act Global is a world leader in synthetic turf and artificial grass manufacturing. The company’s artificial Xtreme Turf and Xtreme Lawn products replicate natural grass for use in international stadiums, indoor sport centers, synthetic lawns and other synthetic grass uses. Its LiteEarth and AvTurf affiliations add capabilities for landfills and airport applications. Act Global has four manufacturing locations in USA, Europe and Asia and installations in over 70 countries. Act Global is notable for currently being the first company in the world that is a FIFA Preferred Producer for Football Turf, Synthetic Turf Council Certified Manufacturer, IRB Preferred Producer, and holds an ISO 9001 certification. Its products have undergone hundreds of independent laboratory tests for quality, durability and performance.

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Cassie Holman
Act Global
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