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LBC Supports Gawad Kalinga’s Football Program (SipaG)
[Date Created: August 27, 2014]

Since 2005, GK has been using sports, specifically street football, to help mold and develop the values of various GK youth. Dubbed “SipaG”, the program seeks to promote values formation and youth empowerment through physical activity, games, and sports.

>> Read more in “Gawad Kalinga Holds the 1st GK SipaG Futbol Festival” 

“We started our SipaG program as a means to experiment with how sports can help empower youth in our GK communities” says GK Executive Director Jose Luis Oquiñena. “The program provides an activity based development approach for kids, and it has proven to be effective in teaching them life skills and positive virtues such as discipline, punctuality, respect, and teamwork. We use street football because it is a gender neutral sport in this country – as per experience more popular sports like basketball usually attract only boys into a program. In addition, football, or in our case street soccer, is the easiest game to play in any open space – there is no need for shoes, paved cement, rings, or the occasional wrestling of time with local officials to use limited and overcrowded facilities,” adds Luis.

With the increasing popularity of Philippine football, the program is now operating in 15 communities across the country with over 700 participants. It has received support from major corporate funders, the Philippine Football Federation, and the Asian Football Confederation who all believe in the power that football has in changing lives. One major donor and advocate of the SipaG movement is the LBC Foundation, a strong partner of GK that generously supports football development in several GK communities through the recently launched LBC Foundation Liga GK.


 


LBC Foundation Liga GK

The LBC Foundation Liga GK (Liga GK) is a home and away street soccer league played between 8 footballing communities within the greater Metro Manila area. It is a friendly competition where football is introduced to children in GK communities, and is the venue where values formation is done through sports in a safe and supportive environment in a GK community. The focus is not so much on results, wins and losses but rather on skills and character development. Participants are both boys and girls aged 12-under, and they are coached by older GK youth who are assisted by adult mentors and volunteers. The goal in involving the youth in coaching is to promote leadership development and the sense of responsibility in an age range where many teenagers fall victim to vices. The Liga not only tallies points for wins and losses, but bonus points are given to teams who perform Bayanihan (community service activities), maintain grades, and show discipline and sportsmanship. Since the start of the Liga, GK youth have been organizing recycle drives, painting of GK homes, and performing weekly cleanups in a friendly competition to out serve each other for the benefit of their communities.



GK Liga teams performing community service activities such as painting homes, cleaning sidewalks, and running feeding programs. The Liga gives more points to teams who conduct bayanihan or community service activities led and organized by GK youth.

“The Liga has actually been running since 2008, starting with only 4 teams and is now up to 8.” says GK SipaG volunteer Kevin Goco.  “With LBC Foundation coming in to support the program this year we restructured the competition to focus on how a community based sporting competition can help develop character and leaders among our youth.  We wanted to do something different and this is why the coaches and referees are GK kids age 14-18 years old because we want to encourage the youth  to be positive role models in their communities, even if they will surely make mistakes along the way’ Adds Kevin. 




The Liga emphasizes the teaching of basic GK values through football: Padugo (bleeding for the cause), Una sa Serbisyo Huli sa Benepisyo (commitment to service over personal gain), Para sa Diyos at Para sa Bayan (doing everything for God and country), Bayanihan (serving others), and Walang Iwanan (commit to leave no one behind).

The competition is currently on-going and will end in late November.  It is currently being played by GK Smokey Mountain, GK Arkong Bato, GK Hilaga-Kapalaran, GK Buayang Bato, GK Tatalon, GK Pinagsama, GK Welfareville, GK Manggahan-Kawayanan, from the cities of Pasig, Mandaluyong, Manila, QC, and Paranaque.  At the end of the season, the top youth coaches, officials, and players will attend leadership develop seminars also sponsored by LBC Foundation.  The winning teams will also receive a cash prize that will fund a community project to be determined by both the youth leaders of the winning teams and GK.




The LBC Foundation Liga GK is the first street football league played between various barangays and cities across Metro Manila and is the only competition that awards teams that perform community service as points in standings. The playing venues are basketball courts where four separate goals are setup using markers made out of slippers, empty ice cream tubs, and traffic cones.

“We are also interested in the skills development of underprivileged Filipino children and want the sport of football to be spread to as many communities as possible, starting with the 2,000 villages GK has built. This is why we encourage our communities to use 4 goals instead of 2, teaching kids the habit of moving the ball from side to side instead of just forwards and backwards in ‘ping-pong’ football. Playing small sided games in small spaces has also been proven to be a very effective method in developing the skills of young children. We intentionally tell the communities to make goals out of any material that can be found on site in order to make the game as easy as possible to play – football in this country should not be complicated,” adds Kevin.




LBC Foundation has been a partner of GK SipaG since 2012. At first, they adopted GK Buayang Bato's street soccer program and eventually progressed to supporting 8 other GK communities through the LBC Foundation Liga GK, thererby increasing the foundation’s scale, impact and reach among GK youth.

 


Yanzie Yalong, a football scholar in UP Diliman and resident of GK Hilaga-Kapalaran posing with former Azkals Team Captain Aly Borromeo. Yanzie represented the Philippines in the Street Child World Cup held in Brazil and now serves as a match official and organizer in Liga GK.




“Since the Liga started last June we are very encouraged by the fact that football teams led by GK youth are starting to be positive forces in their communities – we have a few squads organizing recycle drives, with the objective to trade in what was collected for cash that allows them to conduct weekly feeding programs for the younger kids in their communities. Such initiatives both inspire and win support from their parents, the kapitbayahan, and local barangay officials who were initially skeptical of our sports program,” says Kevin.

These initial yields of the Liga add to the program’s major accomplishment earlier this year when 5 GK youth who once honed their skills in the early versions of the competition represented the Philippines at the Street Child World Cup that was held in Brazil. Organized by Fairplay For All Foundation, another partner of LBC Foundation who also believes in the power of football to change lives, the Philippine team saw the girls finish second to hosts Brazil. One of the GK participants in Brazil is now studying in UP Diliman on football scholarship, an opportunity that Fairplay For All Foundation also helped arrange.


Aside from supporting the Liga GK, LBC Foundation also made GK SipaG a partner beneficiary of its Drop Off Kick Off (DOKO) Campaign, where partners abroad can ship football equipment and materials to foundations running street football programs for free. Through DOKO, GK sites have received shoes, uniforms, and equipment from generous donors abroad.  Separately, LBC Foundation also provided uniforms and practice jerseys to the Kaya-GK Football Club and the GK SipaG Football Club that competed in the United Football League -League Youth Division. The two teams consist of the top GK participants in the Liga and are platforms where GK to showcase talent and provide them more advanced playing opportunities, athletic football scholarships, and links to football academies.

>> Read more in "KAYA FC Football Fun with the GK Kids"


If this support is not enough, LBC Foundation also recently assisted GK SipaG in shipping over 1,000 indestructiballs donated by Chevrolet and One World Futbol Project to various GK sites running football programs across the country.  The balls are made of plastic materials (similar to the material used for Crocs) and can be played on any surface.  The balls went to various GK communities implementing the SipaG program in Metro Manila, Antique, Cebu, Negros, Leyte, Samar, and Davao.



Members of the GK SipaG UFL team with their practice jerseys sponsored by LBC Foundation.
Top players from the Liga are invited to play against the country's top youth football teams in the UFL Youth Division.


“LBC Foundation has always been a strong believer that football is not just a fun and healthy way to engage the youth, but a powerful tool to empower them and teach valuable life skills such as discipline, teamwork, brotherhood, leadership and respect. Together we hope to help mold the children into model citizens of our nation and give them the opportunity to build up their self-confidence to make their dreams come true and be an inspiration to others,” adds Nena Wuthrich, Executive Director of LBC Foundation.


LBC Foundation Executive Director Nena Wuthrich, GK SipaG volunteers Kevin Goco and Butch Hidalgo with the goods donated to GK
through LBC Foundation's DOKO campaign.


“GK SipaG is just one of the many programs that LBC Foundation has generously supported since 2012. LBC Foundation has been an active and long-time partner and friend of GK. They journeyed with us through the ups and downs in community development and have embodied the true meaning and spirit of ‘Walang Iwanan’.” says Luis.

>> Read more in “LBC and GK: When Two Institutions Become Friends”





GK SipaG is a special project under the Child & Youth Development program of Gawad Kalinga (GK) that seeks to develop youth through sports, specifically football/soccer. We hope to motivate underprivileged children in our communities to enroll in school, improve their grades, and attend values formation sessions (conducted by Gawad Kalinga) through sports. In so doing, we hope to transform these children into productive members of society. “Sipag” the Filipino word for “diligence”, is the main value that the program would like to promote to its youth participants, their parents, and the communities where they live. “Sipa” is the Filipino word for “to kick”, and captures the grassroots football component of the program.

GK SipaG is looking for passionate volunteers with experience in human kinetics, coaching, youth mentoring and early childhood development who can volunteer in the program’s development.  It is also in search of people who are knowledgeable in football to serve as mentors to the youth coaches, officials, and referees in the LBC Foundation Liga GK.  If you are interested to help or would like to simply watch a weekend Liga GK game, please contact Kevin Goco at michaelgoco@gmail.com

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