• Celebrating 20 Years of Solidarity

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  • University Scholarship Students, 2013

  • Protecting our Water Resources

  • Language School

A smile for Denis and the Youth of El Salvador


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Today, the Center for Interchange and Solidarity – CIS is receiving a donation of 5,400 almost indestructible soccer balls from One World Play Project.  We are receiving this donation in order to give alternatives for the youth of the country and strengthen community organization and recreation in communities and schools with scarce economic resources.  The balls will be distributed in 25 municipalities in the country through community organizations.

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We are calling this campaign “Playing Soccer for Peace; A Smile for Denis and the Youth of El Salvador” and will launch a special recreation and violence prevention initiative for youth.  The CIS has a scholarship and formation program for youth in 15 municipalities in the country which supports over 200 high school students and 100 university students each year.  Last year, several of our scholarship students abandoned their studies and some even left the country due to threats from gang members.  Some have been beaten up and require psychological treatment.  One star student, Denis Vladimir, who was in his 5th year of Architecture in the National University of El Salvador, studying Intermediate English at the CIS, a catechist at the San Francisco de Asis Parish and a big soccer fan, was assassinated September 2nd, 2014 when he left the University after a soccer game.  Denis had a contagious smile and we want to use that to demand justice, organize and empower communities to take back parks and streets and construct peace.  We dedicate this donation and the tournament we are organizing on Saturday March 14th to Denis and his family as a symbol of the situation that families and particularly youth from scarce economic resources and the middle class face in this country.

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To promote equality between men and women by playing and participating in recreational spacesWe propose

  • To construct recreational spaces, education and employment for youth
  • To take security measures for youth such as cameras in buses and public spaces, remove address on personal ID cards and put a ‘chip’ in them, since various youth are being threatened due to the address on their ID card
  • To work together to strengthen community organization and collaboration with community police, schools, churches and other agencies to break the silence and reduce fear.  We can change the future for the youth of the country. But only if we are organized and work together.
  • To play, accompany, respect, dialogue, and search for alternatives for youth at risk

We thank One World Play and their sponsor, the Chevrolet Corporation, for this opportunity to smile and make changes through play.

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Justice for Denis Vladimir Rivas Ramirez, 5th year Architecture student at the University of El Salvador, Scholarship student with San Francisco de Asis Parish in Mejicanos, CIS and St. Peter’s Church in Kansas City, murdered on September 2, 2014.

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Denis during a visit to St. Peter’s Parish in November 2013

 

Denis’ Background

Denis Vladimir Rivas Ramirez, born Feb. 16, 1991, came from a humble background in the community of San Judas in Mejicanos and led an exemplary life.  He lived with his younger sisters Diana and Elsy and both of his parents who are originally from Ilobasco, Cabañas.  Denis was always kind and considerate of others and wore a sincere and calm smile.  He worked with the San Francisco de Asis Parish youth council to help guide youth at high risk of engaging in or being victimized by violence and in his spare time.   He loved to play soccer/futbol with his friends.  When his life was abruptly taken, Denis was immersed in his last year of course work for a degree in Architectural Engineering at the University of El Salvador and had advanced to the intermediate level of English at CIS where he studied for the past 2 ½ years. 

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