September 28, 2021

Teen honored by ESPN for helping start neighborhood soccer program in Watts

LOS ANGELES — Gabriel Banuelos was lately awarded the Billy Jean King Youth Management Award at ESPN’s Sports activities Humanitarian Awards.

Banuelos was acknowledged for his work co-founding Nicks Youngsters, a program that gives a secure place for children from Watts’ Nickerson Gardens to play soccer.

“We grew up around gang violence, drugs and other environmental things that kids are used to around here that they shouldn’t be used to,” Gabriel Banuelos, Co-Founding father of Nicks Youngsters informed Localish.

Banuelos ended up approaching the Los Angeles Police Division about making a secure surroundings for children to play soccer outdoors as soon as per week.

This led to a collaboration with LAPDs PALS program and Nicks Youngsters was born to not solely present youth a secure place to play, however to additionally enable children to work together with police and alleviate their fears of legislation enforcement officers.

“Nicks Kids provides a structured soccer program, but more importantly we focus on education,” Co-Founder Jeff Joyce mentioned.

“We really push the academics along with several other programs we have throughout Watts,” Joyce added.

Nicks Youngsters now has over 30 members who meet every week at a supervised park to play soccer, have enjoyable and easily take pleasure in being a child.

Banuelos lately graduated from Verbum Dei the place he maintained a GPA above 4.0 and might be attending UCLA in the autumn.

“We hope that they learn that academics is a great way to help yourself, but also helping others is what it means to be a good human,” Banuelos mentioned.

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