As an organization, we believe in uplifting communities across the world to give people a better quality of life. This comes from job opportunities, sustainability education, supporting youth programs, and so much more. In 2014, we partnered with an incredible community program based in Forteleza, Brazil, that was founded to educate children and foster a sense of security in young people.
We kicked off Centro LA SIESTA with founder and program leader Jose “Dito” Expeditor de Moura, a former professional beach soccer player. The initiative is supported through the purchase of our Brazilian Style hammocks, the Bossanova and the Copa. These styles pay homage to Brazilian hammock culture and feature intricate macrame designs.
More About Centro LA SIESTA
Dito uses team sports like soccer to create a sense of purpose and community for the children from the Favela Graviola in Forteleza. Despite the beautiful beach views and seaside atmosphere, the area experiences great rates of poverty, domestic violence, and drug abuse.
So in 2015, we worked with Dito to jointly develop his vision of building a youth center and officially launched the Centro LA SIESTA later that year. Throughout this six-year partnership, we have watched young people grow under Dito's care and direction. We even received a letter from one of his students and wanted to share the school's impact with you.
Hello, how are you?
My name is Lucas Moises Moreno Ferreira, I am 22 years old and a family man. I have a wife and a one-year-old daughter. I am currently a sports student who is about to graduate from school. I am about to achieve my wildest dreams by being the first person in my family to receive a higher education.
My life story has been shaped by strength and perseverance since childhood. Since my father did not want any contact with me, I was raised by my mother and grandparents. I never missed my father growing up because my grandfather is the best father figure anyone could ask for.
My family comes from a simple background. When I was a kid, my mother worked all day as a receptionist to earn a minimum wage at the end of the month and we had no excess wants. I spent the day with my grandma who worked as a seamstress from home and took care of me. She is my second mother. My grandpa also worked independently. This was our way of life for a long time.
When I was three years old, I was diagnosed with rheumatic fever. I went through a month of pain until I was sent to the city of Sao Paulo for a checkup. That’s when they discovered the illness in my body, and I had to receive many injections until I was 21 years old to maintain my health against the fever. Thanks to our great faith, the illness did not reach my heart and I did not lose the ability to walk. I am considered cured, but I still receive injections as a precaution throughout the year.
I went to private school because my mother wanted me to get the education that she was never able to receive. She always fought to be able to pay school fees. In my ten years of school, I always liked to play sports, especially soccer. When I was 12, a new teacher came to the school, one who was praised highly prior to his arrival to campus. This teacher was Dito. I knew him previously because he lived near the beach and ran a social beach soccer project to help children and young people stay away from crime. I was never allowed to go there because my mother was afraid that contact with other children would lead me down a bad path. This changed when Dito became my teacher.
I started playing indoor soccer with him and quickly realized that he taught a lot more than just soccer. They were lessons for life. I talked to Dito every day, and every day I went to his training sessions at school and on the beach. The friendship that I had with Dito evolved from a teacher-student relationship to a father-son bond. From our first meeting, Dito saw something special in me and always tried to get the best out of me. Through him I learned how to get to know the more vulnerable side of people and even myself. The side that wants to help your fellow humans without asking for anything in return. The side that reaches out to those in need and that always strives to become a better person every day.
My dream has always to become a soccer player. I had some career opportunities with indoor teams but never followed them because my mom always wanted me to focus on my education. She wished that her son would become a doctor. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make that dream come true. But thanks to Dito and Centro LA SIESTA, I’m about to make my own dream come true.
When I finished high school at the age of 18, I still didn’t know exactly where my path would lead, but I had an idea. Dito once told me about the possibility of receiving a full scholarship at UniAteneau to study sports there. My only obligation was to study, get good grades, and represent the institution at university games in beach soccer. In March 2016, I passed the recruitment test and enrolled. Dito helped me by opening several doors and filling an empty space in my heart. I truly feel the love of family with Dito.
I am almost done with school. A lot of good things have happened during the four years of training. I became a three-time university beach soccer champion from the state of Ceara, two-time Brazilian champion and one-time international champion. But the most important thing is that I got a job at the best organization in the world, at Dito’s school. The school I came from, where I grew up and the place where he trained me into the success I became. The place where I learned to see the world through different eyes. Where Dito showed me the chain of good, a chain that makes one want to help others, to have more compassion and love for others. And mostly, a place where he makes us better people.
There are no words that could properly describe how important Dito’s school and the Centro LA SIESTA is for the lives of the children and young people in Fortaleza.
If I had three wishes, I would wish for the following… First, to give my mother a home of her own and financial stability for my family. Second, to follow in Dito’s footsteps and let people know me through the legacy I have left in every corner of life. The third wish is to learn several languages and get to travel the globe, to discover other cultures and new ways of life. Germany is my first destination; I want to get to know the beautiful and culturally rich country.
I would especially like to thank you, the Centro LA SIESTA Team, for the help and support you have Dito so that he could develop such a great project here in our region. I sincerely hope this partnership will last for a long time.