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Tour 2018 - players coach local foster kids in LA

Sun 29 July 2018, 16:22|Tottenham Hotspur

Five of our players paid a surprise visit to a special coaching session for local foster children's project First Star in Los Angeles on Friday.

Forty children from the project and their mentors joined our Global Football Development team for the session at Loyola Marymount University (LMU), our training base in LA.

A few minutes into the session and who should turn up? Ben Davies, Fernando Llorente, Lucas Moura, Davinson Sanchez and Michel Vorm!

The players were straight into the action, first joining in with a few coaching drills before splitting into teams and taking on player-coaching roles in small-sided matches.

It was smiles all around as the children were all given a ball for the players to sign, everyone then posed for a group photograph before one more surprise - tickets for our International Champions Cup (ICC) match against Barcelona at the Rose Bowl.

Donna Cullen, Executive Director, Tottenham Hotspur, said: "Children in care is one of the things we're really passionate about and 'To Care Is To Do' is one of our long-running projects, one in which we invest a lot of time and energy.

"We make sure the children realise they are part of the Spurs family, so we give them the mentoring and tutoring because children in care, research has shown, do less well educationally – A, because they get moved around and B, because they don’t get that vested care and attention to move on and make sure they get a great education. That’s what both of our Foundations are doing at the moment.”

First Star’s Co-Founder and President, Peter Samuelson, added: “What we do in First Star is take rising Year Nines and bring them into a four-year programme, an Academy on the campus of a big university. They spend their summers residentially living in the dorm. It’s about a third academic, a third life skills and a third love, family, belonging – these are all children who have been abused or neglected and through no fault of their own.

"If you are a foster kid we’re saying ‘no, you are not a victim, you are a survivor and you can be whatever you want to be, your future is up to you'. Less than six per cent of them would go to college but in our Academies, 91 per cent of our Year 12s have gone into universities or colleges.

"As we expand, the idea that we’ve got Tottenham Hotspur backing us and helping us, it’s a wonderful thing and really moves me.”

A few facts on First Star

- First Star was founded in 1999 as a national public charity dedicated to improving life for child victims of abuse and neglect.
- First Star improves the lives of foster youth by partnering with child welfare agencies, universities and school districts to ensure foster youth have the academic, life skills and adult supports needed to successfully transition to higher education and adulthood.
- They pursue their mission through innovative college-preparatory programmes, providing technical assistance to stakeholders and advocating for policy change.
- Since 2011, First Star has pioneered support programmes to launch foster children into productive lives and careers through higher education.