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The Black Feather Foundation Participates in Wrestle Like a Girl International Exchange Event

Washington D.C.- The Black Feather Foundation (TBFF), participated in the Wrestle Like A Girl (WLAG) International Exchange Program, under the International Sports Programming Initiative (ISPI) US/Mongolia Sports Exchange on October 13. The ISPI US/Mongolia Sports Exchange is a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Department of State and other organizations, including WLAG. 


The WLAG International Exchange Program looks to people within society who represent diversity in perspectives and approaches, and champion solutions for social progress and inclusion. The program highlights the belief that sports have a unique ability to bridge divides, break down barriers, and build positive relationships across cultures, races, and nations.


The ISPI US/Mongolia Sports Exchange cooperative aims to empower young leaders, coaches and sport organizations in Mongolia and the U.S. to create radically inclusive communities through sports. This year’s ISPI Exchange focused on exploring how the unique power of sport, specifically wrestling, can be used to empower girls and women in Mongolia and the U.S.


During the exchanges, the participants partook in clinics and workshops, visited relevant sport related sites, engaged in leadership development activities, and visited historical and cultural sites.


In attendance on behalf of TBFF was the Chief Executive Officer Patti Katter and Chief Programs Officer Candace Cieslo.


“We are excited to participate in today’s event because it aligns with [The Black Feather Foundation’s] mission and vision. Sports affords the opportunity for refugee children to feel a sense of belonging, build self-esteem, teamwork and self-reliance, and a variety of other social development that helps these children navigate their new environment,” Katter said. 


The Black Feather Foundation is committed to collaborating with organizations like WLAG to build positive relationships. This recent joint WLAG/ ISIP event is a perfect example of this collaboration as it aligns with TBFF’s mission of empowering children, families and communities through sports, particularly through its COACHES initiative (Children’s Opportunities Afforded by Combining Health Education and Sports). By collaborating with WLAG’s ISIP initiative, TBFF aims to positively impact the lives of refugee children, ultimately bringing families and communities together.


“Our COACHES initiative aims to provide a softer transition, encouraging refugee children and families through participation in sports in various capacities; whether it be through engaging in competition; or children, their families and members of their communities showing support through volunteering and spectatorship,” Cieslo said.


While TBFF’s mission is directed at the international community, they focus on youngsters from the refugee population.


“We felt that participation in the event was extremely relevant to what The Black Feather Foundation aims to do. We are talking about refugee children and their families who are engaging different people and different cultures for the first time; and this can be a daunting experience. I can’t think of a better platform for these engagements to take place than on the field of a sporting event,” Cieslo said. “Sports are universal, and it doesn’t matter whether the individual is participating for the first time in their lives or as a seasoned athlete, sports is the one event that organically brings communities togethers.”


To learn more about Wrestle Like A Girl, visit www.wrestlelikeagirl.org. And to learn more about the The International Sports Programming Initiative, visit www.eca.state.gov/programs-initiatives/initiatives/sports-diplomacy/international-sports-programming-initiative

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