DALLAS (August 5, 2011)—Legendary football team and UNICEF supporter FC Barcelona met with young people in Dallas to talk about how sport can improve children's lives. The meeting took place at the YMCA in the Lakeside neighborhood of Dallas. FC Barcelona players David Villa and Thiago, accompanied by Ramon Pont, FC Barcelona Vice President, participated in the UNICEF-hosted event.
Over 30 young football fans from the Dallas area attended to ask two of their favorite FCB players for advice on how they can improve their soccer skills as well as inquire about the players' favorite experiences both on and off the field. The players talked candidly with the kids about the impact soccer had on their lives as children.
Both players encouraged the children by telling them, "as long as you are happy and passionate about what you are doing, you will always develop your skills to be the best you can be." They also said that, through sport, they have learned values such as "to respect others and to work hard to achieve what you want."
UNICEF believes that sport has an important role to play to improve the lives of children across the world especially the most disadvantaged. Sport is incorporated in UNICEF-supported programs to achieve specific development objectives such as improving the health of children, increasing their chances of survival; ensuring every child has access to basic education, preventing HIV and AIDS and protecting children from exploitation and abuse. In addition, sport teaches important life lessons about respect, leadership and cooperation, promotes equality for all and bridges divides.
Ramon Pont, Vice President, FC Barcelona said: "UNICEF and FC Barcelona are here today to continue their successful collaboration on behalf of the world's children. For the last five years FC Barcelona has been supporting UNICEF's efforts to save and improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of children. In the next phase of the partnership we will focus on supporting a global movement for quality education and sport that will deliver tangible results for children."
Lawrence Picard, UNICEF's Deputy Director for Operations, said, "UNICEF is extremely proud of its partnership with FC Barcelona which has helped improve the lives of more than 400,000 children many in sub-Saharan Africa. He continued, "we believe this partnership is a leading example of sport contributing to social change for children. We are looking forward to taking this ground-breaking partnership to the next stage in the new season by utilizing the social assets of the club to engage many more people in support of a global movement for education and sport."
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian aid organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health and immunizations, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency and disaster relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.
UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from 13 million in 1990 to 8.1 million in 2009. But still, 22,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood.
For additional information, please contact:
Andrea Sioris,The U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9136