27 April 2017

Michigan Football Team Visits SOS Children’s Villages During Rome Trip

ROME, Italy – Yesterday, University of Michigan head Coach Jim Harbaugh and members of the Michigan football team visited SOS Children’s Villages, an international organization that builds families for vulnerable children in Italy and across the globe, as part of the team’s spring training and cultural immersion trip to Rome, Italy. 

The visit to the organization’s Rome SOS Village was an opportunity for the Michigan team to play and spend time with children who have been orphaned or abandoned due to poverty, domestic violence and other unfortunate circumstances.

During the trip, Coach Harbaugh and Michigan football players Joseph Beneducci, Salim Makki, Grant Newsome, Jack Wangler, and Michael Wroblewski got to know the children living at the SOS village, and played soccer and football games with them. The Michigan team also delivered footballs, soccer balls, hats, T-shirts and sweatshirts to the more than 30 children who call the SOS Village their home.

“We were very impressed with the SOS Children’s Village here in Rome,” said Coach Harbaugh. “The team and my family enjoyed learning about the organization and getting to know the children and caregivers. This is the care all children who have been orphaned or abandoned deserve to have.”   

“The SOS Children's Village was a unique experience for the Michigan football team. I feel that my teammates and I really had a great time learning about what it means to be a child in an SOS program and we thought it was really cool to see how the caregiver takes care of the children and how they all interact with her,” said senior wide receiver Jack Wangler.

“I thought it was unique how the brothers and sisters interacted with one another and we enjoyed playing football and soccer with them. They were excited when we gave them Jordan gear. You could tell they are very grateful for us coming to visit them and spending time with them. It was a great experience and we are appreciative that Coach Harbaugh took us to meet with the children.”

 “We cannot thank Coach Harbaugh and the Michigan football team enough for helping to put smiles on these children’s faces,” said Cameron Schmidt, Board Member of SOS Children’s Villages-USA. “These children have gone through truly difficult times in their lives. What I saw yesterday were children smiling, laughing and truly enjoying being children. It was a memorable day for all of us.”

SOS Children’s Villages believes every child deserves to grow up in a loving and stable family. Sadly, an estimated 220 million children worldwide – that’s 1 in every 10 children – have lost or are on the verge of losing their families due to factors like poverty, conflict and disease. In 134 countries, SOS works to strengthen families at risk of falling apart so that children have the opportunity to grow up in a stable environment with their biological families. For children who have no family or cannot live with their family, SOS welcomes them to one of its 575 Villages around the world where they are raised by a professionally trained caregiver in a loving, stable family environment. 

For more information or to speak to a representative from SOS Children’s Villages, contact Stephanie Rendon at srendon@sos-usa.org or 786.222.0406.