For Marcus Bernard, the road to maintaining his soccer craft (later playing for Trinidad U20 in the World Cup) and attending Brock University were just a few things on his mind writing the preview section for his future chapters. But, his parents had another plan for Marcus that would lead him into assisting ‘goals’ in others live through leadership. The reluctant thought of leaving on a service trip to the Dominican Republic sounded a little far off from spring break vacation and seeing friends visit peers from high school. Looking back Marcus, stated as per usual, his parents set him off in the direction which he calls A newfound engagement a “grounding moment.”

The sport has always been a release for Marcus and now is a principal role in his personal wellness. At the time he knew there was more he could do coming out of his experiences. Not able to put his finger on it right away and combining two paths lead him to Soccer For Change.

As we know Soccer For Change, gives that push over-seas for those who are dealt with misfortune. But the non-profit seems to find a beautiful balance in their own backyard as well just fine. Through their leadership program, they provide GTA school boards certification. There are 5 things participants can expect:

  1. To develop an understanding of the concept of self-awareness and its importance to personal development.
  2. To understand the key attributes and competencies which future leaders need to develop.
  3. Identify the unique strengths you can bring to leading a group of underprivileged youth.
  4. To understand the “outer game” of leadership which are the skills required for effective leadership. (i.e. communication, self-awareness, authenticity, group/system awareness, and achieving)
  5. To understand the “inner game” of leadership which is your unique internal operating system (i.e. drivers, what’s important, beliefs, how you define yourself)

They provide a modern approach, taking the discipline of classroom tactics and putting a social spin on mentoring as a development together. Creating more than just a ‘taking notes’ experience.

Speaking of taking notes, we asked Marcus if there were a few points he wished that would change in regards to the game of soccer. Marcus stating there isn’t much he would directly remodel but he wished organizations like FIFA would step up a bit, in some areas. Since FIFA is the governing body for soccer internationally, we couldn’t agree more about being a continuous leader in all fascists.

Being a leader also places a massive image over philanthropy. So what comes to mind when Marcus creates his own moving picture? Like most would day-dream a rich businessman that donates to charity and puts “philanthropist” on his Linkedin Profile. The true meaning of the word is the love of humanity. “When they teach youth about leadership it’s the similar approach” states Marcus. “At the end of the day its one leader influencing another, when you think about philanthropy in the same way. It doesn’t matter how small your drop in the bucket is, it’s going to create a ripple and hopefully, start something to change someone else’s life”.

It may seem Marcus’s encounters have all been pleasant but visiting the Dominican Republic can be a hard pill to swallow. Soccer for Change travels to a place called Sosúa, a town in Puerto Plata. The area is known for prostitution. If you further research past Marcus’s knowledge, visitors on reviews say the same as well calling it a Red light district by night. Even going to the extent some have shot video exposing the truth of Sosúa. Marcus’s recall of 80 to 20 women to male ratio is backed up by unmistakable evidence. We are not also talking about ‘legal’ aged women either. The bendable age bracket coming to Marcus’s camp are 12-15-year-old girls. Which in the Dominican Republic prostitution is legal. Marcus stated most reasoning to exposure are such as, family not having enough money so they send their daughter out to work, education or some peoples husbands are slothful so they send their wives out to the streets to bring home coin. Everyone, of course, hears about prostitution and the consequences of it but in Marcus’s position to listen and view the town around him, we couldn’t imagine how he felt. “These people won’t have a chance to have their story told’ says Marcus. They will be the Dominican girls who on the arm of an American guy on vacation. They won’t really know what’s going on, they will just assume”

To undergo what Marcus takes on is and should be inspiring to all young humanitarians that want to make an impact. Soccer For Change is always open to help, but he did state come with how you want to make a change. “It takes that passion to a whole new level”

The beauty of life is that each individual has experienced or learned something that someone else hasn’t mastered or taken on as we all have different paved roads. If we join those roads to create a highway, can you imagine what the world would be like? It takes one construction worker to ‘employ’ another and another till we have a full team directing those that are lost.

“ I will heighten my life by helping others heighten theirs” – Les Brown

Thank you to Marcus for sitting down with us and sharing his venture with Soccer For Change. Keep up with their incredible non-profit by following them on social media HERE as well as check in with their website HERE



**Photo Courtesy of Soccer For Change***

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