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Game On!

Real Madrid Foundation, Microsoft, and Central Washington University Officially Kick-Off GAME ON! Youth Leadership Program

The Real Madrid Foundation, Microsoft Corporation, Central Washington University (CWU), and the Yakima School District Monday (Sept. 19) announced the official roll-out of the GAME ON! youth leadership program at the Eisenhower High School Stadium in Yakima.

At a press event, CWU President James L. Gaudino noted that the purpose of the program was to provide participating young people with valuable computer science skills as well as teaching them the value of teamwork, self-control, respect, and collaboration.

“GAME ON! is a unique program that trains both the mind and the body,” he said. “The students in this program learn the basics of computer coding as well as receive soccer training through our Real Madrid partners that promotes leadership and core values. These are all skills that will benefit them throughout their school careers and beyond.”

Gaudino said CWU became involved in the program because of the importance of showing young people that getting an education, including a college degree, isn’t out of their reach no matter who they are or where they live.

“We recognize that it is an excellent way to reach these students,” he said. “As part of the program, the students will visit our campus and see for themselves that college is very attainable.

“We’re the fastest growing university in Washington and we’ve recently been rated the best value in state by The Economist Magazine, so we’re honored to join Real Madrid, Microsoft, and the Yakima School District in this innovative program,” he added.

Gaudino also thanked Don Luis Fernando Esteban, honorary consul for the Spanish government for Washington and Oregon, who was responsible for helping to put the partners together to create the program.

Ignacio Abascal, trainer of football trainers for Real Madrid, said he was looking forward to training local area coaches and trainers. He said Real Madrid Soccer Club, which is the world’s most valuable sports franchise, is committed to the idea that core values and leadership skills can be shared through sports.

Abascal will spend part of this week on the CWU campus in Ellensburg training coaches from participating Yakima area schools.

Gaudino noted the GAME ON! program is the first sports workshop of the Real Madrid Foundation to be affiliated with a university. 

Gaudino said the partnership complements CWU’s ongoing commitment to community outreach.

CWU engages in significant outreach to K-12 schools in the central region of the state, through programs such as Compass to Campus, the university’s Center for Excellence in Science and Math Education, and the state’s only GEAR UP grant. CWU also has one of the largest teacher preparation programs in the country.

The GAME ON! program began last March with a pilot program involving students from Stanton Academy and Eisenhower High School. The success of that effort encouraged the partners to officially commit to continuing the program.

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