HEAT ALERT

Relentless heat lingers through the weekend in the Bronx; possible pop-up thunderstorms

South Bronx nonprofit recognized on global stage for community impact

A South Bronx nonprofit was recognized for its work using soccer, mentoring and academic support to change the lives of local kids.

News 12 Staff

Feb 29, 2020, 3:38 AM

Updated 1,575 days ago

Share:

A South Bronx nonprofit was recognized for its work using soccer, mentoring and academic support to change the lives of local kids.
Maria Martinez came to the Bronx from Mexico when she was 11 years old.
What she knew for sure was that she loved soccer. And soon enough she joined South Bronx United.
“Is not only helpful for SATs, college prep, family issues. Like literally, they helped with everything and it's rare to find a program or soccer club like that,” Martinez says.
She is now 18 years old, has a legal residency card and plays with and helps coach for South Bronx United.
“I have no words to describe the experience,” Martinez says who found herself centerstage in Berlin for the Laureus World Sports Awards to accept an award on behalf of South Bronx United.
“When we went to the stage to get the award it was like, ‘Oh my God!’” Martinez recalled.
The nonprofit was chosen for the 2020 Laureus Sport for Good Award, which recognizes an organization or person who has used a sport to reduce the impact of violence and discrimination, to enhance social, emotional and academic development and inspire.
Martinez and another South Bronx United member received VIP treatment at all the events surrounding the awards. They also met sports superstars and celebrities and were interviewed by reporters on the red carpet.
“All the reporters, all the photographers, everyone wanted to talk to me about my experience and how I’m part of this amazing program,” she said.
South Bronx United serves about 1,000 kids in the South Bronx, ages 4 through 19.
And while soccer is something that will always be part of Martinez’s life, so will South Bronx United, she said.
“I’m honored to be able to represent not only, like I said, myself but everyone else, and many, many girls that are going through worst things than me, and I want to be able to represent that type of community,” Martinez added.
The recognition was a significant accomplishment for South Bronx United. One of its goals for the future is to create its own youth center that can be a one stop shop for Bronx kids to play soccer, and also take advantage of a host of academic and development resources that the organization provides.


More from News 12