All posts tagged Making A Difference:

October 23, 2009 | Comment

The Finals of 2009 Homeless World Cup/Milano with Buddy from Buzz Films


Though the teams may be gone and the army barrack tents where they stayed taken down, the energy remains. Relive the grit and glory of the final match- Ukraine v Portugal. The Ukraine pulled it out in a closely-contested match, where one teams goal always seemed to meet with a counter goal from the other squad. But words can’t do it justice. Check out the video to see the joy of victory and the agony of defeat unfold for yourself. And to get one last jolt of energy from lives being changed.

Learn more…

Got HOPE?!

October 22, 2009 | Comment

Youth sports is an enterprise worthy of a bailout

If the high school and youth sports programs in your town aren’t already having trouble paying their bills, they will soon.

And if that doesn’t sound like headline-worthy news in this battered economy, just wait. You’ll have your pick of headlines from the ripples it creates soon enough: fatter kids, more dropouts and less safe streets. You also won’t have to wonder why the college and pro teams you follow from the couch don’t seem quite as good as they used to be.

The public-private partnership that helped make youth sports part of the fabric of every neighborhood in America for decades is going broke.

“Sports are something everybody takes for granted, but already for some kids in some places, those programs are a lifeline,” said Paul Caccamo, executive director of Up2Us, a coalition of school and community-based sports programs from around the country.

“It’s already an endangered species in some inner cities, some rural areas and now, even middle-class suburban kids are getting hit with pay-to-play fees. We know as that cost goes up, participation goes down. ... And while we don’t know for certain how many it’s affected in all those places already,” he added, “it’s got to be in the hundreds of thousands.”

Beginning Wednesday, Caccamo and an army of do-gooders will descend on Washington, D.C., bearing that message, some provocative research and high hopes of drawing attention to the problem and bending a few influential ears in Congress and even the White House.

During two days of conferences, co-hosted by Up2Us and the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation, the people struggling to keep those programs running want to make policy-makers and the public understand how close they are to the tipping point. It’s not about learning to make do with less money; in many neighborhoods, any less will mean having to do without.

Read More…

A ball/sports can change a life - I know this first-hand & I’ve witnessed it in communities all over the globe. Countless times President Obama has expressed how sports helped to shape his understanding of the team concept & how to be a coachable team member (he regularly plays pick-up hoops on the White House grounds & he even has a former Duke baller as his personal aide) - without a doubt, he’s a believer in the power of sports.

Generation Next deserves the same opportunities that President Obama & I had via sports to learn lifelong, catalytic lessons! So, I firmly believe that youth sports programs in the US are absolutely worthy of a bailout.

Show youth sports…the MONEY!

October 08, 2009 | Comment

Gotta love the web! My daily Google search for the phrase “business innovation” sent an email alert for this innovation gathering that’s happening in Providence, RI this week…

The Business Innovation Factory (BIF) shares “proof of concept” at BIF-5
The BIF-5 Collaborative Innovation Summit, co-hosted by Bruce Nussbaum and Bill Taylor, will bring together today’s most compelling innovators, business model renegades and true transformers to discuss innovation success through personal storytelling. Over two days you will hear twenty five stories about creating change and directly connect with pioneers who created environments and opportunities where transformative innovation emerged.

Learn more about The Business Innovation Factory (BIF)


September 18, 2009 | Comment

Press Release 09/17/09

During National Coach Appreciation Week, Members of Congress, Coaches, and Youth Launch -
Coach for America

New national program will recruit, train 10,000 college grads to become coaches in underserved communities.

Washington, DC (Vocus) September 17, 2009—At a Capitol Hill press conference recognizing National Coach Appreciation Week today, members of Congress, coaches, and youth announced the launch of Coach for America, a first-of-its-kind national program designed to recruit 10,000 recently graduated college-athletes to participate in a year of training and service. Coach for America is a project of Up2Us, the leading national coalition focused on youth sports and development. Coach for America participants will receive sports and youth development related training and will serve, teach, and support children and youth in communities across the nation.

Read More…

September 07, 2009 | Comment

Nike and Homeless World Cup/HWC are delighted to announce Buzz Films as the winner of the “Spiritus Concordia Victoria” Film Competition.

Buzz Films will see up and coming presenter, Buddy, capture the spirit and essence of the Homeless World Cup/HWC, which unites 500 players from 48 nations in Milan in September.  Buddy’s last assignment was for National Geographic with a trip through Outer Mongolia.

Over 75 submissions were received from filmmakers from 5 continents when Nike and Homeless World Cup/HWC put the call out with a $50,000 fund to produce a short film capturing the Spirit, Unity, Victory of The Milan 2009 Homeless World Cup, which takes place in the Arena Civica, Sempione Park from 6-13 September 2009.
About BUZZ Films & Buddy…

Here’s Buddy in BUZZ Films’ episodes #1 & 2…The Arrival & The Draw

Homeless World Cup, MILAN 2009 - The Arrival from Jan-Paul Bednarz on Vimeo.

Homeless World Cup, MILAN 2009 - The Draw from Jan-Paul Bednarz on Vimeo.

Stay tuned for more HWC episodes from Buddy & BUZZ Films…

Got PLAY?!

September 07, 2009 | Comment



There are one billion homeless people living in our world today.

The Homeless World Cup exists to end this, so we all have a home, a basic human need.

The Homeless World Cup/HWC is an annual, international football tournament, uniting teams of people who are homeless and excluded to take a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent their country and change their lives forever. It has triggered and supports grass roots football projects in over 60 nations working with over 25,000 homeless and excluded people throughout the year.

The first tournament took place in Graz 2003 uniting 18 national teams. 6 years on 56 nations were united for Melbourne 2008, which included the first Women’s Cup. We are on the road to Milan 2009 from 6-13 September.

The impact is consistently significant year on year with 73% of players changing their lives for the better by coming off drugs and alcohol, moving into jobs, education, homes, training, reuniting with families and even going on to become players and coaches for pro or semi-pro football teams.

The Homeless World Cup/HWC supporters include UEFA, Nike, UN, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Ambassador Eric Cantona and international footballers Didier Drogba and Rio Ferdinand.

Latest HWC results…

Got Hope?!

September 05, 2009 | Comment

HWC Press Release

United Nations backs Homeless World Cup

3 September 2009, With just three days until the kick off of the 7th Milan 2009 Homeless World Cup, the United Nations have announced their support with a message from the special adviser to the United Nations Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace. The Milan 2009 Homeless World Cup welcomes 48 nations to the Arena Civica, Sempione Park, Milan from 6-13 September 2009.

The United Nations considers sport as a powerful tool to promote education, health, development and peace. Sport unites people of all social classes, cultures and religions in a positive and educational way.

As the Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, Wifried Lemke said: it is with great pleasure that I offer my support to the “Milan 2009 Homeless World Cup”, a football initiative which has been uniting teams of homeless people to take a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent their country and change their lives forever.

The Homeless World Cup initiative is an extraordinary example of the application of sport as a tool for community development. The Homeless World Cup has triggered the establishment of over 50 local grass roots projects working with people who are homeless and excluded from society. 

The impact of the Homeless World Cup has been consistently significant with a large majority of players changing their lives for the better, by coming off drugs and alcohol, moving into jobs, education, homes, training, reuniting with families and some even going on to become players and coaches for professional or semi-professional football teams.

Considering the increase in the number of participating teams from 18 national teams in the year 2003 to 48 national teams for the current event in Milan, the Homeless World Cup is well on the way to realizing its vision - a healthy, abundant, confident world where everyone has a home, a basic human right. 

The initiative has been a very successful means to raise awareness of issue surrounding the homeless and to improve the image of homeless people amongst the general public. The positive impact that this project has been able to have on individuals from more than 70 countries makes it an initiative that deserves any additional support it can obtain.

I look forward to a continued collaboration with the Homeless World Cup initiative and wish all participants the very best in this life-changing experience!”

I had the honor of meeting & spending time conversing with Wifried Lemke at the Beyond Sport Summit & Awards - he’s a “true believer” in the power of sport movement!

The 7th Annual Homeless World Cup kicks-off tomorrow/September 6th in Milan, Italy!

Got Hope?!

September 02, 2009 | 1 comment

Rob Hughes, NY Times/July 10, 2009
LONDON—The sporting superstar has reached a level of global recognition beyond any film star.

“There is no movie star in the world who could get thousands of people to wait six hours just to see their arrival, as Cristiano Ronaldo did this week,” said David Puttnam, filmmaker turned law maker in the British House of Lords. Puttnam, who over 30 years produced award-winning films, including “Chariots of Fire,” “The Killing Fields,” “Bugsy Malone,” and “Memphis Belle,” is certain that Tom Cruise could not hope to draw 80,000 to a movie theater the way Ronaldo did to his signing ceremony at Real Madrid’s Bernabéu stadium last Monday.

“I have watched the dynamic of the superstar shift from film to sports,” Puttnam added. “The whole level of globalization of sports is bigger. The key is engagement. The power of sport has taken the movie industry by surprise.”

We were speaking at the Beyond Sport Summit in London where Puttnam—now Lord Puttnam, legislator and ambassador for Unicef—joined people from government offices to ground workers in some of the world’s most violent crime spots to discuss the power of sports.

Fame need not be frivolous. Puttnam, 68, has witnessed the emergence of celebrity added to charitable causes, from Danny Kaye, the American actor, singer and dancer of the 1950s, to the David Beckham phenomenon today.

Read More…

Katalyst Note: On Day 3 of the Beyond Sport Summit & Awards gathering, I had a wonderful time conversing with and listening to Lord David Puttnam. He possesses a unique combination or wisdom, insight, intellect and devilish humor that quickly disarms an audience and inspires all listeners!

Got Stories?!

August 25, 2009 | Comment

I’ve had the honor of cultivating a friendship with Awista since 2006 when I learned about her amazing, life-changing, power of sport work via the 2006 ESPY Awards. We quickly discovered that we shared the same passion, intention and commitment to making a difference in the lives of others via sport & play. Awista was also gracious enough to share her story about sport & play’s impact on her personal growth and her lifelong chase (aka her Red Rubber Ball!) in my recent book, The Red Rubber Ball at Work.

More Inspiration Here…

Enjoy the read & enjoy your chase…

August 24, 2009 | 1 comment

The Play It Forward campaign is a collaboration of Up2Us, YouthNoise and Nike, Inc. that seeks to promote the importance of youth sports and to recognize the role of coaches in shaping young people’s futures.

Play it Forward centers around the Coach Appreciation Week Resolution, which was introduced with the help of Rep. McIntyre, N.C. and will go to a House of Representatives vote on September 14. Coach Appreciation Week is intended to spark a national dialogue about the importance of sports as a vehicle for youth development and to inspire volunteerism around youth sports. The Play it Forward campaign will highlight the stories of coaches from around the country who have made a difference in the lives of their players, both on and off the field. Three winning coaches will win a trip to Washington, D.C. and be honored with the National Coach Appreciation Week “Coach of the Year Award at the Up2Us National Conference.

Read More…

KC’s Catalytic Coaches: Coach Schmidt (Coopertown ES 5th & 6th Grade - Football), Coach Bellini (Haverford JHS 7th & 8th grade - Football), Mr. Ritts & Mr. DeCampli (Haverford JHS 7th-9th grade - Track), Coach Bush & Coach Keyser (Haverford HS Varsity Soccer)

August 19, 2009 | Comment


The tone of irreverence, the Tutu chuckle that rises to a cackle, fills the air. The archbishop is on stage, and in his element. His interviewer, Michael Parkinson, a veteran British talk show host and sports writer, struggles to get a word in as Tutu works the audience of 500 people near St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

The theme is “Beyond Sport.” The room is filled with people who are on their own crusades and using sports beyond its simple goals of fitness and triumph. Some want to wean street gangs off lawlessness through rugby, or fight crime in Rio de Janeiro through boxing, or use soccer to educate kids on the dangers of land mines in Sarajevo.

“Beyond Sport” is a catch-all phrase used by a London-based organization to recognize what is going on beyond the playing fields. We hear social workers who give their all to use sport’s popularity and discipline to alleviate inequality and wasted human potential. Some, like Dikembe Mutombo, a former National Basketball Association giant from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Lucas Radebe, a former South African soccer captain, lend their fame to HIV/AIDS work in Africa.
Read More from Rob Hughes…

August 17, 2009 | Comment

On Day 3 of the Beyond Sport Summit & Awards gathering, Archbishop Desmond Tutu shared his wonderful insights & wit about sport’s role in assisting to bring the nation of South Africa together in 1995 & how sport will play a pivotal role in the overall transformation of South Africa. Sir Michael Parkinson shares in the banter with the archbishop. Enjoy!

Got Sport?!

August 03, 2009 | Comment

The Beyond Sport Summit

The Beyond Sport Summit was a unique three-day event designed to celebrate, promote and drive forward sport-led social change. The Summit collided those who use sport as a vehicle to create social impact, with influencers from the world of business, government and federations whose attitudes and decisions can have substantial impact.

The Summit had three primary objectives:

* To forge connections and ongoing strategic relationships that create benefits across all parties. (DONE!)
* To generate ideas that will tangibly help to scale and replicate sport development projects from across the globe. (ACCOMPLISHED!)
* To create momentum behind the change-through-sport agenda. (ENERGY PRESENT & PALPABLE!)

I AM A WITNESS! Got Sport?!

July 27, 2009 | 1 comment

This video is adequate (at-best) when sharing the amazing passion, purpose, intention and commitment of my new BFF, Lewis Gordon Pugh - The Human Polar Bear. Environmentalist. Explorer. Swimmer.

I met Lewis at the Beyond Sport Summit & Awards event in London a few weeks back. Watching his video on Day 3 of the Beyond Sport Summit & Awards was inspiring, emotional and left me in awe of the human spirit and our capacity to endure seemingly insurmountable challenges/obstacles. Lewis’ video was a tremendous reminder to me of how courageous we can be - even a diminutive, fast, 6 year old boy in 1964.

According to a wise man: Courage is shown in acts, not in words; it is not bluffing, arrogance, or madness. A courageous man or woman is the one who dares to do what he or she finds is right, and bears the consequences of his or her acts—whether they are political, social or individual.


July 14, 2009 | Comment

2009 Winners

Congratulations to all the winners of the inaugural Beyond Sport Awards. The winning initiatives were named on the final day of the Beyond Sport Summit and, in the case of the Beyond Sport Community Awards, received £10,000 of funding each and a substantial package of technical support to help them grow and become sustainable.

The winners were chosen from the Awards Shortlist detailed below with representatives from each of the shortlisted projects flown to London for the three days of the Summit.

The winners were announced on the final day of the Summit, with the successful projects in the six Beyond Sport Community Award receiving funding and a package of support especially designed to aid them in becoming sustainable in the future.

The Beyond Sport London Legacy Award

In partnership with The Mayor of London and The Evening Standard, the Award celebrated the best project or initiative in London which uses sport as a vehicle for positive social change and provided a tangible legacy for Beyond Sport’s Host City for 2009.

A shortlist of 5 projects for this Award was announced on Monday 15th June with each project receiving an invitation to attend the Beyond Sport Summit.

The winning project was announced at the Summit during a special presentation ceremony, hosted by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, on the evening of Wednesday, July 8. The project received £60,000 worth of funding, provided jointly by Beyond Sport and the Mayor of London, over three years. And The Winner Is…

Having the opportunity to spend 3 days with the Awards Shortlist representatives was truly an honor for me. I was humbled by their commitment to changing lives for the better, inspired by their passion for sport and it’s ability to transform communities, and enlightened by their ability to get things done with guile, cleverness, and ingenuity.

A sincere, heartfelt thanks to all of the Beyond Sport Award Shortlist representatives for welcoming me into your special catalytic community!

May 17, 2009 | Comment

What’s a “Power of Sport Story?!”

It’s a story that transcends the particular game at hand—be it stick & ball, on ice, on grass, turf, or simply played in an alley or on a street corner with a ball & a makeshift goal.  In a power of sport story, “winners” don’t necessarily win the playoff or championship game; sometimes they are on the losing end on the scoreboard.  But their game is an “Inner Game,” a higher game, a spiritual game that claims a universal victory.

The power in these stories of sport is like an alarm clock, noisily waking people from a heavy slumber.  These moments grab your attention in a loud and profound way like the arena horn marking the end of a half, a referee’s whistle halting play, or a raucous crescendo of cheers from fans reveling in an unbelievable moment.

It’s the former pro football player who donates a kidney to his ex-teammate; or the one who is walking across the breadth of the United States today to remind Americans of the hardships confronting rescue personnel who sacrificed their health on September 11th. 

The power of sport is witnessed when a coach chooses—on game day—to go barefoot to draw attention to the plight of those who have no footwear options. 

That power of sport can be profoundly life changing when homeless men and women are invited to compete in the world’s most popular sport and others see how the game inspires the downtrodden and the hopeless! The Homeless World Cup injects hope and possibility into people who are more often than not, global afterthoughts. It’s a worldwide competition, sponsored by, to find “innovative ways for sports to promote social change.”  Imagine that: promoting global social change with a ball!

Sport and play are the common denominators and planetary equalizers.  No matter where you look in the world regardless of political or religious system—we ALL play.  Therefore, stories of triumph over illness, poverty or handicap through the use of sport or play resonate throughout our world and help inspire change, and inspire action. The Power of Sport Story can change a life.  It changed mine. 

Coach Hurley’s long-time effort to make a difference in the lives of student-athletes at St. Anthony HS in Jersey City, NJ are absolutely worthy of being highlighted as a Power of Sport Story - well done, Coach Hurley!

April 23, 2009 | Comment

*Beyond Sport 2009 Shortlist

From the Beyond Sport website:
Beyond Sport seeks to celebrate and support any individual or group, from the grassroots to the global, with the goal to drive positive change through sport.

Congratulations to the 2009 Beyond Sport Awards Shortlist! These Shortlisted projects were chosen from over 265 entries that submitted applications to this year’s Awards. By reaching this stage of the judging process, they will each receive an invitation to attend the Beyond Sport Summit on July 7-9 in London.

Thanks to the unique support and goodwill of Beyond Sport’s Global Partner, Virgin Atlantic, representatives from these projects will be flown from all over world to the Summit in London, where accommodation will also be provided.

The winners will be announced on the final day of the Summit, with the successful projects in the six Beyond Sport Foundation Award categories receiving £10,000 each and a package of support especially designed to aid them in becoming sustainable in the future.

Well done…I’m really looking forward to meeting the Shortlist Winners in July!

April 22, 2009 | Comment

If you’re “on-the-daytime-grid” today, be sure to check out this Earth Day event -

At 1pm Eastern today, Sustainable South Bronx’s founder, Majora Carter will host an on-line chat for Earth Day 09. Besides being a brilliant visionary who’s making a difference in her childhood neighborhood in NYC, Majora is one of the 33 featured profiles in my latest book, The Red Rubber Ball at Work too!

Majora is a delightful, insightful soul and a true human catalyst!

April 06, 2009 | Comment

If you’re in NYC…The NBA Store will be hosting a special promotion in conjunction with the NBA’s first-ever Green Week April 2nd thru 10th - Recycling Dreams.

The NBA + Hoops 4 Hope Footwear Drive - During Green Week, NBA Store customers have the option of bringing in a gently worn pair of sneakers to donate to NBA Cares charity Hoops 4 Hope and receive 20% off a same day footwear purchase.  Hoops 4 Hope supports youth and community development in South Africa by combining the joy of playing basketball with an effective HIV/AIDS-prevention and life-skills curriculum.
Got Sneaks?!

SneakerNote: Two time NBA MVP + perennial All-Star Steve Nash has been a leader in his hoops community to increase awareness and opportunities for his team to be “all about” energy conservation - Steve Nash’s video

March 30, 2009 | 1 comment


Dr. Stuart Brown’s shares the wisdom and necessity of play in his book PLAY+ KaBOOM!‘s 100,000 play destinations + YOU = DREAM Big destinations for the “kid-within-us-all”!

Dr. Brown shares a powerful “why PLAY?!” message in his book - read it + heed it!

KaBOOM! is an organization that acts as the purveyor of play constantly creating and resurrecting safe destinations for our next Gen of leaders to play and imagine BIG possibilities - KaBOOM! Masnifesto

PLAY serendipity has occurred in the past few weeks with KaBOOM!‘s initiative and Dr. Brown’s book release that should not be ignored.  Discussions on the role and value of PLAY are gaining tremendous momentum and attention - the PLAY movement needs YOU.

We need to recruit PLAY Operatives - individuals with keen, discerning and diabolically playful eyes that can spot great play locales. We need YOU to identify and share the locales of great playspaces that deserve to be listed as a play destination of choice guaranteed to enhance the imagination, ingenuity, and the innovative spirit of young people (and the young-at-heart!). Got PLAY?! Here’s how you can help…

In a unique partnership, KaBOOM! has teamed up with six national non-profits who are concerned about the well-being of children—YMCA of the USA, National Wildlife Federation, Shaping America’s Health, Jumpstart, America’s Promise Alliance, and First Book—to create an online map of more than 100,000 places to play in America.  Two-time “Dancing with the Stars” champion and Mercury Nashville recording artist Julianne Hough will be the public spokesperson for the campaign. 

From March 23 until June 30, Julianne will give these select charities $1 for each valid playspace their members load to the KaBOOM! Playspace Finder , up to $100,000.  Thanks to capital support from the Omidyar Network, KaBOOM! is using online technology to activate and engage individuals, alert communities of the importance of play, and motivate individuals to start taking action. Once this comprehensive user-generated playground audit is complete, KaBOOM! and communities will know which areas of the country have a great place for kids to play every day and which areas fall short.

The people who use their playspaces everyday are the folks who will know whether or not they are any fun for their kids.  From playgrounds to skate parks, ice rinks to basketball courts, the more we know about playspaces from those use them, the more we learn.  Take that first step. Make a small contribution to the greater good.

Your actions build individual and community momentum to take the next step towards KaBOOM!‘s vision of a great place to play within walking distance of every child.

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