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Gang Task Force Soccer Tourney at W-L

The Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force and Arlington's Gang Task Force held a soccer tournament this month. Teams from Fairfax, Prince William County, Alexandria and Arlington competed in a smart alternative to gang violence.

Thanks to Robert Vilchez, Coordinator, Arlington County Gang Task Force for this writeup. Players at the Gang Task Force Soccer game

On June 18th, the Task Force held its 6th annual soccer tournament and the opportunity to share a survey with young people and obtain their input on gang recruitment in the community and schools. This event was sponsored by The Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force and hosted by Arlington’s Gang Task Force.  Teams from surrounding jurisdictions were invited, and 3 teams from Fairfax County, a team from Prince William County, a team from City of Alexandria and 5 teams from Arlington County participated. The program targeted approximately 100 at-risk youth ages 13-18.

The Gang Task Force soccer tournaments have earned the support of dozens of local businesses, elected officials, non-profit organizations, police, community leaders, and professionals working with youth. These tournaments are capturing the attention of youth regionally and reaching out to those in need of positive activities. In addition, they are breaking barriers between gang members and targeting a diverse population. The Task Force works to prevent gangs in this region; soccer tournaments held several times a year are one way to accomplish that goal.

The Gang Task Force sincerely thanks all the volunteers from Department of Human Services, Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Home, Arlington Public Schools, YMCA, Leadership of Arlington, Arlington Soccer Association, Prince William County and Arlington County Court Services Unit,  Police (Gang Unit), and Parks and Recreation, who provided guidance for our youth during the soccer tournament. The volunteers gave their time and talents to enhance life in the community and made the event a great success.

Special praise goes to Bob Bigney from Arlington Soccer Association and Michael Swisher from Arlington Parks and Recreation for taking an active role in organizing the soccer tournament and leading the dialogue and giving youth an opportunity to share their thoughts on improving the quality of life in Northern Virginia. The players were engaged throughout the tournament and survey results will be shared at the next Gang Task Force meeting July 13th.

lunch was provided at the soccer tourney by El Pollo RicoSpecial thanks also to the sponsors: El Pollo Rico, Law Office of Jeff Jankovich, La T-Shirt, Arlington Community Federal Credit Union, Mister Days Sports Café, the Screaming Eagles, and Washington- Lee high school for use of their soccer field.

Posted: Jun 23, 2011 by Sally LaBonte

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