A Play It Forward* tale from one of the many global human catalysts making a positive impact on the lives of others with a ball - thanks, Beth McGill! Her story is another wonderful demonstration of the transformational power of sport & how a “ball can change the world!”
*A special thanks & shoutout to: Joanne, Paul, Brian & Julie for your contributions to this Play It Forward moment!
The balls were an absolute hit and the little ones started digging into the balls instantly. Fifteen of the balls are being used for the HIV education program, 4 are being used for the local street leagues and soccer tournaments held on the weekend and the final ball I personally delivered to a very small squatter community. The children were trying to play soccer with a flat rugby ball so I found a mother that I designated as the ball care taker and she is currently letting the kids play all day and bringing the ball in at night. Such a great gift and I can’t thank you enough for the opportunity to bring them over to South Africa.
September brought only smiles in the smallest of ways to a rural community in South Africa. Thanks to Molten USA and Kevin Carroll, 20 soccer balls were delivered to Richmond, South Africa through the Hope In Richmond (HIR) organization to continue the youth HIV and sports education programs. The soccer balls are being used at the community center for after school sports programs, used in HIV education activities, and also were given out to smaller areas for the kids to participate in friendly sport.
Richmond, South Africa is home to 9,000 South Africans with unemployment exceeding 70% and HIV/AIDS infection rates estimated at 35% . HIR adopted the small community in 2005 and, to date, has renovated the soccer facilities creating a community center with a soup kitchen, indoor and outdoor recreational areas, meeting spaces, a youth library, improved sanitation for the community, and provided medical supplies and equipment for the local hospital. On the last HIR trip to Richmond, I was privileged to deliver 20 new Molten soccer balls to support our local Grassroot Soccer HIV program which teaches the youth HIV/AIDS education through interactive activities often involving soccer balls. The Grassroot Soccer Skillz curriculum also provides youth with the knowledge, life skills and support to live healthier lives, HIV Free.
HIR staff and children attending the community center were ecstatic to see the brand new beautiful balls to replace their popped soccer balls which did not survive the desert terrain. September_SA_2009_1_.JPG Even with all the despair and hardship that surrounds the African people, they still find time to laugh, play, and sing. Sometimes something as small and as simple as a soccer ball can bring smiles and laughter to a community in need.
On behalf of the community of Richmond and HIR, special thanks to Kevin Carroll and to Molten for donating soccer balls to a community and education program dedicated to enriching the lives of the people of Richmond, South Africa.