The First Class

Meet the Mentors and Emerging Leaders

Developed by the U.S. Department of State, the first Sport for Community program was implemented by Partners of the Americas in 2014. The program partnered 14 Brazilian emerging leaders from the sport-for-development sector with U.S.-based mentors, and provided these leaders with the tools to translate the power and popularity of sport into positive results for communities. In 2014, the 14 Brazilians traveled to the U.S. for a one-month mentorship experience. One year later, mentors traveled to Brazil to rejoin their emerging leaders and support their work in the community.

These were the participants in the first S4C class:

Gabriela de Miranda Pinheiro, Luta pela Paz
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Mentor: Peter Hero, RAFT
San Jose, CA

Gabriela works as the institutional relations manager at Luta Pela Paz. Luta uses boxing and martial arts, combined with education and personal development, to help young people from high-risk communities reach their potential. Through participating in S4C, Gabriela aimed to create a strategic fundraising strategy for Luta and learn how to best manage organizational data and information. She also hoped to learn how to cultivate sponsorships and manage campaigns.  Gabriela shared and implemented lessons learned from her mentorship within Luta as well as with other organizations.

Louise Mendes Bezerra, Rede Esporte Pela Mudança Social
São Paulo, Brazil
Mentor: Dr. Nancy Peter, Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative
Philadelphia, PA

Louise Bezerra works as the executive secretary for Rede Esporte Pela Mudança Social (Sports for Social Change Network, SSCN), a network comprised of 52 organizations working in the field of sport for development throughout Brazil. By participating in S4C, Louise endeavored to improve her ability to engage network member organizations, increase her coordination and communication skills, learn new advocacy techniques and identify funding opportunities.

Julio Cruz Lima Adeodato, Associação Desportiva Mariners
Recife, Brazil
Mentor: Jamie Rocha, GlideSlope
New York, NY

Julio Adeodato is the president, marketing director and coach at the Associação Desportiva Mariners. The Associação Desportiva Mariners is a non-profit American football team that supports approximately 120 players. Through participating in S4C, Julio aimed to learn how to grow a nascent sport and organization, increase opportunities to teach youth the importance of sport and gain skills to better develop partnerships and identify resources that support the Mariners football team and American football in Brazil. Julio also strove to become a better leader.

Ana Elisa Guginski Caron, Instituto Compartilhar
Curitiba, Brazil
Mentor: Cristina Ballesteros, YMCA San Diego
San Diego, CA

Ana Elisa Caron works as a project analyst for Instituto Compartilhar, an organization founded by Brazilian Olympic volleyball champion coach Bernardinho in 2003. The institute uses volleyball to promote citizenship and mutual understanding, as well as the values of cooperation, responsibility, respect and autonomy. The institute’s projects benefit approximately 4,200 children and adolescents between the ages of 9 and 15. Ana Elisa’s goals for S4C were to improve her organization’s impact assessment capabilities, gain new techniques for teacher training and motivation, and increase Instituto Compartilhar’s reach while developing new programs for younger children. Ana Elisa also aimed to learn new sport-based methodologies to teach values and implement all of these lessons learned in Brazil.

Camilla Orlando Santana Verissimo, Capital Feminina Women’s Soccer Academy
Brasilia, Brazil
Mentor: Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak, University of Central Florida Women’s Soccer
Orlando, FL

Camilla Verissimo is the owner, manager, and coach at Capital Feminina Women’s Soccer Academy. Capital Feminina provides soccer training to girls between 12 and 19 years old as well as adult female soccer players. The organization has been operating for almost two years and supports approximately 50 female athletes. Through participating in S4C, Camilla aimed to increase the number of female athletes Capital Feminina reaches, support the development of women’s soccer throughout Brazil, develop an English language training component for the Capital Feminina, and learn how successful sports development organizations are managed and funded. Camilla also hoped to explore the structure of high school, collegiate and professional leagues in the United States and how these each play a role in the development of female soccer.

Victor Cavallari Souza, Associação Pró-Esporte e Cultura
Ribeirão Preto, Brazil
Mentor: Lawrence Cann, Street Soccer USA
New York, NY

Victor Souza is a sport and exercise psychologist at the Associação Pró-Esporte e Cultura (APEC). APEC, founded in 1996, is a nonprofit that implements sports-based programs for at-risk children. APEC’s programs reach 2,300 children, 8 to 12 years old, in four cities throughout the state of São Paulo. Through participating in S4C, Victor aimed to learn new ways to think about social problems and social inclusion through sports.  He also endeavored to learn new methodologies to increase the effectiveness of sport-based youth development programs. Victor aimed to gain new tools and skills for increasing program reach and assessing project impact.

Gabriel Mayr de Oliveira Silva, Urece Sports and Culture for the Blind
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Mentor: Mark Lucas, United States Associate of Blind Athletes
Colorado Springs, CO

Gabriel Mayr is a founding member of Urece Sports and Culture for the Blind, where he works as the institutional relations manager. Urece is an NGO based in Rio de Janeiro that uses sport as a means to increase social inclusion, employability skills and educational opportunities for participants. Through participating in S4C, Gabriel aimed to increase the reach of Urece and identify sustainable funding opportunities, learn successful advocacy techniques, and have a mentor evaluate and assess Urece’s development. Additionally, he enjoyed opportunity to organize an event to promote soccer for the blind in the United States.

Luiz Sergio Pereira da Silva Filho, Centro Integrado de Estudos e Programas de Desenvolvimento Sustentável
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Mentor: Sean Hinkle, DC Scores
Washington, DC

Luiz Sergio Filho is a project manager at Centro Integrado de Estudos e Programas de Desenvolvimento Sustentável (Center for Integration and Sustainable Development, CIEDS). CIEDS is a nonprofit, philanthropic organization founded in 1998 that recently gained United Nations Economic and Social Council status. CIEDS seeks to promote a society based on knowledge, cooperation and the empowerment of individuals through creating strategic bonds between organizations. Through participating in S4C, Luiz aimed to improve his knowledge of social-development- focused projects, gain a better understanding of how sport can be used as a tool for social development, and observe new sport-based projects.

Alessandro Martins, Instituto Trevo Tecnologia Social
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Mentor: Jamie Rocha, GlideSlope
New York, NY

Alessandro Martins is the project development manager at Instituto Trevo Tecnologia Social, an organization that uses sports and education to create social change. Instituto Trevo supports and develops projects and social policies through partnerships between the public and private sectors. Through participating in S4C, Alessandro hoped to learn best practices from other sport-for-development projects, develop new projects that engage the private and public sectors, and improve his management skills and sport-based youth development knowledge.

Matheus Triska de Oliveira, Triska Santos Tennis School
Canoas, Brazil
Mentor: Lance Lee, Legacy Youth Tennis and Education
Philadelphia, PA

Matheus de Oliveira is the founder and coach at Triska Santos Tennis School. The academy provides tennis classes to all ages and all levels. Matheus and his academy staff are currently working on PRO-ESPORTE, a project created by the sports authorities from the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The project consists of three centers: a social center, a new talent development center and a high-performance center. The goal of the social center is to provide tennis classes, psychological support, reading workshops, meditation practices, yoga, arts and dance classes to under-privileged youth. Through participating in S4C, Matheus aimed to create greater opportunities for marginalized youth to play tennis, gain financial and program management skills, learn how to best work with schools, and develop a holistic methodology that supports youth development.

Priscila Regina Lopes, Federal University of Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valleys (UFVJM)
Diamantina, Brazil
Mentor: Dr. Ana Palla-Kane, University of Maryland School of Public Health
College Park, MD

Priscila Lopes is a gymnastics professor at the Federal University of Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valleys (UFVJM). She is also the leader of a gymnastics group and the coordinator of Diamantina Gym Group. Through participating in S4C, Priscila aimed to increase her knowledge and skills in gymnastics, learn how to plan and manage educational sport programs for marginalized youth, and create partnerships to support these programs.

Daniel Henrique da Silva Leite, Sesc Interlagos
São Paulo, Brazil
Mentor: Heather McDanel, Students Run Philly Style
Philadelphia, PA

Daniel Leite works as a sports monitor at SESC Interlagos (Social Service of Commerce). SESC was created in 1946 and is a private institution with a public mission: to assist commerce and service employees, especially those in low-income families, through informal educational programs. In São Paulo, more than 2 million people are enrolled in SESC, and the organization develops programs in areas such as health, culture, physical activities, assistance and nutrition. Through participating in S4C, Daniel aimed to increase the number of youth involved in SESC programs, expand program offerings, learn best practices from the NGO sector in the United States and increase his leadership skills.

Amanda Busch Rigo Neves Bezerra, Instituto Passe de Mágica
São Paulo, Brazil
Mentor: Maria Frazier, Urban Dove
New York, NY

Amanda Bezerra is the technical supervisor at the Instituto Passe de Mágica (IPM), a sport-for-development NGO that uses basketball. The organization currently works with approximately 720 children in three cities using a methodology that links motor, cognitive and social development. Amanda is also a physical educator at the Barrichello Kanaan Institute (IBK), an NGO that provides physical activity for children and the elderly, in addition to computer classes for seniors. Through participating in S4C, Amanda aimed to learn more about sport-for-development programs and projects in the United States, especially how they are evaluated and supported financially. She also hoped to be able to share her own knowledge and experience with her host organization.

Marcelo Bittencourt Neiva de Lima, Instituto Guga Kuerten
Florianópolis, Brazil
Mentor: Kenny Holdsman, Legacy Youth Tennis and Education
Philadelphia, PA

Marcelo de Lima is the sports coordinator at Instituto Guga Kuerten (IGK), an NGO with educational, philanthropic, sports and social goals. The institute’s mission is to promote and support development opportunities and social inclusion for all citizens, and increase solidarity within Brazilian society. Through participating in S4C, Marcelo aimed to learn how sports-based youth development programs in the United States support vulnerable populations, exchange knowledge and experiences with his mentor, and establish a network with American colleagues.