Swarthmore College Garnet Mens Soccer Hosts 8th Annual Benefit Youth Clinic

SWARTHMORE, Pa. - The Swarthmore College Garnet men's soccer team hosted its 8th annual benefit youth soccer clinic on Saturday, January 30th, raising over $600 for the relief agency Genocide Intervention Network (www.genocideintervention.net).  In addition to learning basic skills, such as passing, dribbling, and defending, over 40 children had a chance to play matches against each other during the two-hour clinic.  Members of Swarthmore STAND, G. I. Net's student-spokespeople at the College, also briefed the children and their parents about the terrible humanitarian situation in Darfur,  Sudan.

Coach Wagner instructs

Coach Wagner offers insight to youngsters at the 8th Annual Youth Clinic.

The clinic, which the team has hosted every winter since 2003, served as an educational opportunity for the children, their parents, and the College’s student-athletes.  For the past seven years, the janjaweed militia have terrorized civilians in Darfur, the western province of Sudan.  Millions of Darfurians are internally displaced, and over 400,000 have died during the genocide, which is now a major topic of U.N. deliberation.   Presently, the African Union has some 8,000 peacekeepers in the region, an area roughly the size of France.  Established in 2005, the G.I.Net has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help various agencies in the region.

The event has raised over $9,000 in total donations over the past eight years.  The Garnet soccer program has been very active in community service during that time, and the annual winter youth soccer benefit has steadily grown since its inception in February, 2003.  For the past five years, the benefit has donated money to G. I. Net, which was started by several Swarthmore College students.  The organization is now a fully-operational non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C.  The Chief Executive of G.I.Net, Mark Hanis, as well as several of the organization's staff members, are Swarthmore alumni who pursue the mission full-time.  The on-campus presence of students, known as Swarthmore STAND, also helps to spread the word about G.I. Net’s purpose.

A statement on the G.I.Net website says, "Our mission is to empower individuals and communities with the tools to prevent and stop genocide."  Although originally conceived as a response to the inactivity on the genocide in Darfur, the “Genocide Intervention Network has expanded its efforts beyond Darfur, to include conflict areas such as Burma and Democratic Republic of Congo.”

For more information about the G.I.Net or about the annual Benefit Clinic, please contact Eric Wagner at (610) 690-6882 or by e-mail at ewagner1@swarthmore.edu.

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