- 100 at-risk youth, ages 12-16
- Efforts help teens stay out of – and leave – gangs
- At Washington-Lee High School June 22; registration deadline is June 14
Arlington, VA — The Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force, in partnership with Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS), will host its 5th annual regional soccer tournament on June 22, 2013 at Washington-Lee high school in Arlington, VA.
This tournament provides an opportunity for 100 at-risk youth between the ages of 12-16 to enjoy a day of fun, teamwork and a chance to win prizes. More importantly, the tournament serves as an opportunity for teens to learn about extracurricular programs in regional community centers, as well as those offered by NVFS. These programs provide teens with the opportunity to engage in positive recreation and personal development activities.
Teens participating in programs like those offered by NVFS and Arlington's Department of Parks and Recreation are less likely to become involved in gangs, engage in substance abuse and other destructive behaviors.
The tournament helps to build trust between teens and members of the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force, different non-profit organizations and government agencies. It helps expose teens to fun, productive activities that help them to resist or leave gang activity. The tournament began in 2005 in Arlington County and has proven so popular that it has spread to a regional tournament.
Research shows most teens join a gang to feel a part of something. The goal through soccer is to offer a positive alternative. The National Gang Crime Research Center reports that 80% of gang members reported they would leave the gang if offered the right help.
Watch a video about the soccer tournament, in which players and law enforcement officials talk about the many benefits of the tournament.
Registration deadline June 14
The tournament is open to teens from 12-16 years of age; cost is $6 per player and includes lunch and a T-shirt. Every player must wear shin guards. To register, contact Tito Vilchez, 571-274-2699, firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force
The Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force was established in 2003 as a multi-jurisdictional partnership comprised of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to address gang activity through dedicated officers and resources, thereby making the region inhospitable to gang activity.
The Task Force is active in three areas: enforcement, prevention/education, and intervention. In addition to the soccer tournament, Task Force is engaged in a number of prevention and intervention activities, including: field trips to show them alternatives to gang life; counseling and case management; life learning skills; employment opportunities; tattoo removal; interactions with college students who have had their own tough times.
Efforts are guided by its Board of Directors, which is comprised of the Chief Law Enforcement Officers of 16 towns, cities and counties in Northern Virginia. In addition to Northern Virginia Family Service, the Task Force partners with many organizations and institutions in the region, including George Mason University and the U.S. Naval Academy.
Since the Task Force was established in 2003, Northern Virginia has experienced decreased gang activity every year. Learn more about the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force.