The third annual Día del Fútbol proved to be a unique Washington College event “that was designed to bring together the Hispanic families and community members from Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties,” said Kaitlin Thomas, WC alum.
This past Sunday, el Día del Fútbol was a huge success thanks to the volunteers and the 70 attendees ranging in age from several months old to fifty years old, said Thomas.
Sixteen volunteers participated in the event, and senior Akin Walker said it was preferable for volunteers to speak Spanish, but was not a requirement.
One volunteer, junior Alketa Tanushi said that, “it was an amazing event. It gave me the opportunity to practice my Spanish and meet some really wonderful people.”
The event began with story reading in both English and Spanish that “focused on teamwork and sportsmanship, incorporating the importance of literacy is an important aspect of the Barbara Bush Grant as it encourages parent and child involvement via reading together,” said Thomas.
Afterwards, the younger participants were able to practice and learn soccer before watching their elder family members and friends play an actual game with members of the WC community, said Thomas.
Thomas said there were many other activities located outside of the LFC field house and opportunities to practice linguistics for those who were not interested in playing soccer. Lunch was also given to the volunteers and participants after the game, said Thomas.
“At the end of the day the children received free WC soccer t-shirts and scarf banners thanks to the WC Athletic Department and the Men’s Soccer Team and free bilingual books courtesy of the Sudlersville Even Start Program,” said Thomas.
Professor Shawn Stein said, “it has been wonderful to watch the Día de Fútbol grow over the years into such a unique and extraordinary event. I am grateful to all of our volunteers and am hopeful that activities like this will help continue to bridge our two communities by breaking down imaginary barriers and helping us to better understand each other.”
When asked about her favorite part of the event, Tanushi said that “it was fun interacting with the little kids and learning more about their lives and aspirations.” On the other hand, Walker said that his “favorite thing about the event was actually getting to know the families better.”
Walker also added that he was able to receive a different perspective of the community and that it was rewarding to discuss stories and life in general with the participants.
Walker said that the fun that people were having at the event was very inspiring. “The fact that members of the Washington College community are able to extend their hands to the Hispanic community to put on such an event goes a long way...this was obvious as you looked at all of the participants’ faces at the end of the day,” said Walker. Most importantly, Walker said that “Día de Fútbol is a fun event.”
Walker stated that the event is expected to occur again in the Spring and that hopefully, there will be more time available for the adult soccer game. Also, Walker said that there should be “more constructive activites for the adults during the event.”
Thomas said that organizations such as the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the WC Spanish Club, and the Barbara Bush Grant for Family Literacy work to host this event and create a bond between the Hispanic communities of Kent and Queen Anne’s county and the WC campus.
Stein, Thomas, Walker, and the many volunteers from the WC campus and the Even Start and Family Support program worked diligently to put this event together, said Thomas.