The home opener last week against D.C. United had 24k+ fans buzzing with excitement but there was one fan in particular was having one of the most memorable days of his life.
New member of City in the Community’s (CITC) Youth Leadership Council (YLC), Raul Robinson was not only named Ford Hero of the match, he also won a trip to Manchester to attend the Global Youth Summit through the YLC, a Citywide initiative led by CITC and NYC Service - a division of the Office of the Mayor.
The YLC is dedicated to providing the youth from all five New York City boroughs an opportunity to develop their professional and life skills, meet people from diverse backgrounds, and to help empower better lives through soccer. By using soccer as the primary platform, the CITC Youth Leadership Council organizes soccer festivals, workshops and collaborates with other established councils to tackle local problems facing youth in underserved areas.
“This opportunity opens up the world the Young Leaders and helps inspire them to know that they are part of a global network of true change makers who want to help build a better future for young people,” said Paul Jeffries NYCFC Director of Community Development. “We hope they can bring back the skills and inspiration and apply to the communities they serve but also have friends around the world to troubleshoot with and share best practices. That they are part of something much bigger than themselves and that their work and ideas matter.”
Robinson earned the opportunity to visit Manchester through an extensive three-step application process. In the initial essay portion of his application which caught the attention of the selection committee, Robinson said:
“To improve civic engagement amongst the youth, I would use my combination of knowledge of soccer, values and motivation to grant others the strength to be individuals. However, there are limited opportunities for youth around NYC to take part in these civic engagement activities, leaving one of the world's greatest resources untapped. And, as a result, both youth and society miss out on the potential benefits. Youth civic engagement would see that the youth would develop their own confidence to develop their skills and talents; participating in political, economic and social conversations; and become agents of positive change communally.”
Since the beginning of the process, Robinson was one of the standouts amongst the initial 65 applicants who made it past the first-round because of his passion for the game and his maturity which goes well beyond his 15 years.
“When speaking about young leader training Raul is always the first name to come out of anyone’s mouth. I think the fact that he and a classmate actually found the Young Leader Training online themselves and took the initiative to get involved speaks volumes,” said Brandi Daniels, Community Administrator and CITC Coach. “His passion for the game is what seems to be a driving force in his life and knowing the impact that it has had on him personally it says a lot that he wants to give that to others.”
As Robinson sets off on this journey to Manchester, it’s important to remember the work the YLC does to help the youth in New York City. Robinson is one of the many kids in the metroplex that have been moved by the Council and its mission to help empower the voices of urban youth throughout the five boroughs.