Home Institution

Washington University in St Louis

Publication Date

Spring 2008

Program Name

Brazil: Culture, Development, and Social Justice


The purpose of my research was to test the hypothesis that sports can be a preventative method for youth risk behaviors such as gang membership. My hypothesis was that sports could provide some of the same benefits as gang membership and other risk behaviors, but in a more healthy and productive way. To test this thesis, I spent three weeks researching the work of ARCA, the Associaçao Recreativa e Esportiva para Crianças e Adolescentes in Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil. While I studied all the projects of ARCA, I focused my research on their Escola do Surf, in the poor beach community of Goiabeiras. While with ARCA, my main methods were observation and participant observation. I also conducted informal and formal interviews, as well as a small survey of some of the older students at the Escola do Surf. What I found was that ARCA fights risk behavior in two ways. First, they work to prevent risk behaviors in the present. But their higher goal is to create consciousness and opportunity, so that their students can take control of their lives in the future.


Latin American Studies | Politics and Social Change | Social Welfare


Article Location