Part of the seasonal prize, which the Pink-Black players have renounced, will finance sports scholarships in at-risk neighborhoods of Palermo, in collaboration with the Diocesan Caritas.
Palermo, July 17, 2020 - A little over a month has passed since Pink-Black Captain Mario Alberto Santanaannounced, on behalf of all his teammates, his intention to make part of the seasonal prize, offered by Palermo for its promotion to the C league, available to social emergencies in the area. Today that promise is beginning to materialize.
Thanks to the "Aquile di quartiere" (Neighborhood Eagles), the project carried out in collaboration with Palermo's Diocesan Caritas, 50 kids, whose families are struggling in different districts of the city, will have the opportunity to attend high level soccer schools to fulfill their dream of becoming professional soccer players.
Specifically, with the help of Caritas, some areas of the city, where many families live in difficult social contexts and where young people are often forced to put aside their aspirations and talent caused by lack of resources and planning, have been identified. Sacrifices that often end up feeding real social emergencies due to early school leaving, poor literacy and even - in extreme cases - a dangerous approach to petty crime. A struggle that neighborhood parishes have always fought on the front line, promoting aggregation also through the healthy principles of sport. Among the neighborhoods involved in the project, through the parish priests of the area, those of Villa Grazia di Palermo, Brancaccio, Arenella, Albergheria and many others.
"The city of Palermo and its team are one big family," said Santana. "That's why we soccer players, who always receive great warmth from the people of Palermo, have decided to reciprocate as much as we can, trying to celebrate the passion for our colors and maybe discover tomorrow's champions. And if none of these kids will ever become soccer players, we can still be proud to have given some of them the opportunity to make it, in the same way many of their more fortunate peers have. A fair society is one that breaks down barriers and gives everyone the same chance to succeed. In our own small way, we want to contribute in making it happen.
"Attention to minors and their social inclusion has been a priority for Caritas for years," said the vice-director of Palermo's Diocesan Caritas, Don Sergio Ciresi. "The project allows us, through sport, to create a strong territorial alliance that operates in this direction by focusing on the adolescents’ needs. Thus we encourage teenagers to put themselves to the test through teamwork, following the rules and roles. The main objective is the fight against child poverty, a phenomenon that has taken on worrying dimensions: the latest report by Caritas Italiana indicates that absolute poverty in Italy affects 12.5% of minors, 40% of them do not play any sports, and more than half do not read books. Minors raised in disadvantaged families are 5 times more likely not to reach the minimum learning skills compared to their peers, thus precluding important opportunities for personal growth and training".
The project now foresees a preliminary screening phase of the youngsters, entrusted through Caritas to the parishes adhering to the initiative. Later, the involvement of the best soccer schools in the area, located throughout the city to facilitate attendance from the various districts identified. Moreover, thanks to the patronage of the pink-black Club, the beneficiaries of the scholarships will also be constantly monitored by the youth sector managers of Palermo, who will follow their development over time and evaluate, if suitable, their involvement in the recruitment of youth teams.