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December 2012

El Círculo Juvenil de Cultura Focuses on Futbol

El Circulo Juvenil de Cultura, an outreach program run through the Department of Modern Languages designed for Spanish speaking children in the Pittsburgh area to learn more about the Hispanic culture and practice their Spanish language skills, focused on futbol (soccer) culture this semester. The 10 workshop sessions were led by Ava Meditch Murphy (DC’13) and local Chilean teacher Maria Teresa Caro.

Through the workshop, the children explored the universe of soccer — including the players, male and female teams, songs and fans by, among others, watching videos and presentations by parents and family members about soccer competitions both in Hispanic countries and at the international level, or learning about the recent Homeless World Cup in Mexico or the Robot soccer teams. They also played friendly soccer-based games on the green space between Porter and Wean Halls, created posters, PowerPoints, and videos, painted their faces with the colors of their favorite soccer teams, designed and painted their own soccer shirts, and created a giant papier-mâché puppet mascot (based on Tatu-bola, the armadillo that is the official mascot for the Brazil 2014 World Cup) and individual puppet players with the help of artist-in-residence Kathleen Gensure.

They even had the chance to attend the CMU Tartans men’s soccer game against Case Western University’s Spartans, and participated in a friendly "shootout" competition to score penalty kicks during halftime!

In the final session, children, student volunteers, teachers, and families came together inside the Adamson Wing to watch presentations highlighting the process and products of the workshops, and to dance to the music of “Waka-waka” sung by popular Colombian singer Shakira for the 2010 World Cup. Every child received a medal of participation in the workshop and a collection of soccer-themed short stories in Spanish before sharing a bite to eat and heading outside for a Kids vs. Parents soccer game. Before the rain chased players off, the two teams scored a bunch of goals and fully enjoyed the game and its ability to give everyone a shared joy.

Circulo Juvenil workshops are for Spanish-speaking children aged 6-12 years old. The next workshop will be held Sunday afternoons from mid-February through the end of April.

For more information on Circulo Juvenil, visit

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