Absolute Return for Kids helps children from every socio-economic background succeed through health, education and other programs, in areas across the globe.

So when our Corporate Social Responsibility team at Western Union was looking for a relationship to help transform children’s lives, ARK was an easy choice.

Since the majority of ARK-sponsored schools are in North London, we wanted to leverage our relationship with UEFA, and asked if the schoolchildren could fill all 22 mascot positions in the Feb. 27 match between Tottenham and Dnipro.

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Schoolchildren filling the mascot positions at the soccer match

UEFA was gracious enough to give us the mascot spots to fill, so we created a competition within the ARK schools, encouraging students to display the three main behaviors that ARK promotes: High performance, Participation and ARK Spirit.

Head teachers made the final decision of who received the honor of becoming a one-time player mascot. The children and their parents were then informed that they had been selected because of their hard work, and at the match, the children were presented with Western Union football kits and certificates.

UEFA was a natural fit for Western Union. Through initiatives such as the Western Union® PASS fund, we’re moving money for better education every day with the help of UEFA. As part of a three-year commitment, every successful pass made in every Europa League game is turned into funding to helping children around the world.

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In the end, everyone at Western Union who helped organize the event realized it wasn’t just the kids who got their kicks. Moving money for better education makes us all winners.

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