The social development arm of Meralco, the One Meralco Foundation (OMF), and the Loyola Meralco Sparks Football Club (LMSFC) teamed up with the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) in Football for Peace, a sports initiative focused on developing and honing football skills and instilling values of discipline, camaraderie, teamwork and sportsmanship.
Promoting peace through football
Since 2011, the PMC has been holding the football clinics near their detachments to provide opportunities for conflict-affected kids not just in improving their athletic skills, but in empowering the children ñ preventing them from being idle and susceptible to ideologies that would draw them into joining the armed conflict as they grow up.
This year, the football clinic was recently held at the Bonifacio Naval Grandstand in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
About 176 kids from Cotabato City, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Sultan Kudarat and Palawan were flown in for training, with stretching and strengthening exercises which gear them for a friendly game of football with their fellow trainees. They were also taught the proper rules and techniques in the sport. The clinic was also part of PMCís Football for Peace Festival which included educational tours and friendship games.
Aside from the football clinic, One Meralco Foundation in partnership with the MVP Sports Foundation, also donated 500 soccer balls to PMCís Football for Peace last July 2012.
Being role models for the youth of tomorrow
The occasion was made more memorable when the children were treated to special sessions with members of the LMSFC, of which include top figures and icons in the local football scene, Phil and James Younghusband.
“I know weíre all aching to just get on the field right now. But the important thing is to have fun out there,” said James Younghusband as he addressed a crowd of young, wide-eyed fans before the actual football clinic.
The activity was a fitting occasion for the LMSFC players to inspire the youth as they shared their experiences in playing football, motivating the kids to pursue their favorite sport, may it be football, basketball or any other sport, not only for the sense of achievement it will bring but also for the myriad of opportunities that will be opened to them as future athletes.
Employee members of the Meralco Football Club, the internal group of Meralco employees who are also football enthusiasts, were also present during the clinic, assisting the LMSFC players and imparting their own knowledge of football to the kids.
During the clinic, one young participant excitedly said, ìNatutuwa po talaga kami dito sa Football for Peace dahil marami kaming natututunan, tapos ngayon nakalaro pa namin ang mga players na magagaling sa football. (We are really happy with Football for Peace because we learn a lot, and now we even get to play with great football players.)î
Partnering for peace and youth development
As part of its advocacy on youth development, OMF promotes sports and sees it as a highly effective tool in developing capabilities, while opening opportunities for a brighter future for the youth, particularly those who are disadvantaged. Collaborations built on a shared value of developing the youth is also something One Meralco Foundation is always welcome to engage in.
“We are very happy to work with partners like PMC and LMSFC who put to action their advocacies,” said Jeffrey Tarayao, President of One Meralco Foundation and Chief CSR Officer of Meralco.
“We in One Meralco believe that todayís youth are energized to take part in our countryís future, and to know that other organizations share this belief motivates us to create and implement more youth-centered initiatives which will serve as avenues for these partnerships to flourish,” he continued.