By SDCNN Staff
This month, the San Diego Diplomacy Council (SDDC) is launching its first Youth Sports Diplomacy Program for young women in San Diego county.
As part of the program, the SDDC is taking 25 female coaches and volleyball players from the Exodus Social Justice Volleyball Club — an organization that provides coaching to underprivileged youth — to Vietnam and Laos.
“We are excited to partner with Exodus Social Justice Volleyball Club to take local players from Mater Dei [Santa Ana] and the Monarch School [San Diego], many whom would not have the financial means or opportunity to travel, to serve as these cultural ambassadors,” said Fabienne Perlov, executive director of the SDDC. “The program will involve volleyball matches with local teams in Vietnam and Laos, as well as cultural and leadership experiences.”
Those experiences include a trip to KOTO, a Vietnamese restaurant that employs and trains at-risk-youth, and a boat ride to Laos to teach volleyball and bring donations to villagers.
This is part of a larger cultural exchange program called Adaptive Sports for Social Change, organized by the SDDC partnered with the National Ability Center and funded through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs’ Sports Diplomacy division.
In exchange, teams from Vietnam and Laos will spend a week in San Diego in December.
“In addition to playing volleyball, we hope to take our visitors to a university volleyball match, to tour the Olympic training center, to see the cultural sites of San Diego, and to stay with host families for a weekend to experience the life of a San Diegan,” Perlov said. “We also hope to connect them with our local Vietnamese and Lao community groups.”
For more information about the SDDC or Youth Sports Diplomacy Program, visit sandiegodiplomacy.org.