I’m back from a week in Portland where I teamed up with Rachael Rapinoe to present on the Darfur United Soccer Academy. This last week in Portland is truly my motivation for today and the week ahead. Rachael and I had the opportunity to present to High Schools, organizations, companies, young entrepreneurs, curious friends, and members of the Never Again Coalition. We were constantly on the go, and it felt like we were talking about the Academy all day, every day, to anybody who would listen.
It was so great to be able to share i-ACT’s work. To talk about Guisma and her story, to talk about the coaches, the players, to show pictures and videos of our friends in camp Djabal, and to get people inspired to be a part of the Darfur United movement. Beyond sharing the mission and the program, I learned so much from each audience and each person we presented to. The excitement from those who listened was heartening, but it was the questions, the suggestions, the feedback, the willingness to get involved and help promote the Academy that was humbling and well… so motivating!
To see and hear people from all walks of life and all ages, want to get involved and support the Darfuri refugees and their opportunity to play and move, is a reminder of how sports can connect us all, and how many people are seeking opportunities to connect with people in other parts of the world, no matter how isolated like the Darfuri refugees.
So thank you to all who made our presentations happen! Thank you for welcoming us and being a part of Darfur United!
Until next time Portland.
I am humbled by the response we received yesterday in our first #GivingTuesday campaign. You have given 222 Darfuri refugee girls and boys the opportunity to join the Darfur United Soccer Academy, and sponsorships are still coming in!
Growing up playing soccer, I’ve experienced the beautiful game and continue to with family beach soccer games every week. There’s nothing that can replace the feeling of the ball at your foot, making the perfect pass, or shooting the winning goal. It is our hope that each Academy player feels happiness and embraces their right to play as children. You have made this possible.
Coach Mark Hodson, Director of Coaching at Manhattan Beach Sand and Surf and Darfur United Head Coach, told me Monday night that he received a text from one of the DU Soccer Academy volunteers that said, “Too many kids.” This a new and exciting journey for the coaches and for us as a community.
Thanks to you all the girls and boys who want to join the academy will have the chance to play and experience joy. My heart is filled with love and gratitude. Thank you:
Joan, Colleen, Marie, Laura, Leanne, Margo, Doreen, Katherine, Miriam, Gayle, April, Eric, Joanne, Amelia, Daniel, Margie, Kathleen and John, Mike, Catherine, Henna, Edward, Janice Wood, Suzie, James, Bruce, Natick Soccer Club and Community Anush, Theresa, Qiana, Ana, Brian, Celinda, Deanna, Susan, Kathy, Barry, Karen, Alex, James, Jill, Julie , Cinthya, Genocide No More, Save Darfur — Redding, CA, Zahara, Cheryl, and Maryse.
Didn’t have a chance to donate on #GivingTuesday? You can still sponsor here!
December is here and I’m kicking off the holiday season in the very cool city of Portland! I’m here all week to team up again with Rachael Rapinoe to give presentations on the Darfur United Soccer Academy and our recent trip to the camps. We’re really excited to connect with people and groups in Portland and to spread the message and mission of i-ACT and DUSA. We’ll be presenting to existing connections and partners such as the Never Again Coalition as well as new audiences like Nike! Our presentations will show what the first Darfur United Soccer Academy looks like, what is next for the Academy, and how others can get involved in supporting our efforts of empowering the refugees through sport.
I’m always a little nervous to present. While I’ve come to appreciate public speaking, I always worry whether I’ll convey the message and my passion in a way that has the audience feeling more informed and more empowered to act and to join our efforts. That said, in my experience, when people hear about Darfur United, the Academy, and what the program aspires to do for the refugees – the pictures and videos of the Darfuris and their stories all speak for themselves. I’m just there to make sure they’re heard.
So Portland we’re looking forward to connecting with you this week! Stay tuned, I’ll be blogging updates about our presentations and sharing about the companies, organizations and people we meet with!
i-ACT has joined #GivingTuesday! A one of a kind holiday that harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners – charities, families, businesses, and individuals – to transform how people think about, talk about, and participate in the giving season. Coinciding with the Thanksgiving Holiday and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, #GivingTuesday inspires people to take collaborative action to improve their communities and give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they support, helping create a better world.
Taking place December 3, 2012 – the Tuesday after Thanksgiving – #GivingTuesday utilizes the power of social media to create a national moment around the holidays dedicated to giving, similar to how Black Friday and CyberMonday are days that are, today, synonymous with holiday shopping.
i-ACT will be promoting the Darfur United Soccer Academy. Our goal is to get 200 more children sponsored to participate in the Academy for an entire year! Be a part of #GivingTuesday and help us reach our goal by sponsoring a child for only $10!
By giving just $10, you’ll kick off the season of giving by offering hope, joy, and play to a generation of children born and raised in Darfuri refugee camps.
It’s Thanksgiving this week (where did the time go!?), and in light of our day of thanks, this morning I’m reflecting on something that I’m extremely grateful for everyday: My option to choose.
During i-ACT 17, we had the opportunity to interview mothers of Little Ripples children. I’ve already written about these interviews, but this morning I wanted to highlight a re-occurring theme and response from these interviews. When mothers were asked what they hoped for the future of their children, each mother independently responded that they wished their children would grow up to be able to choose what they did with their life.
Now, stop for second, and really think about this.
I’m well aware that not everybody here in the U.S. has the opportunity to choose what they do with their life. We are not all able to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. As Americans we don’t all start off on the same playing field, and many people face insurmountable barriers from the start. But we do wake up everyday and have the ability to control some aspects of our lives. Whether it’s what we eat. Where we work. Where we live. What outfit we wear. Whether we go to school. If we want to be in a relationship, get married, have kids, stay in communication with our family members, access the Internet, a library, or a grocery store. The list goes on. A refugee does not wake up and have these choices. They eat the same thing everyday. They worry about whether they’ll have enough porridge for tomorrow, or if they’ll be able to afford a little bit of meat this month. They worry if the World Food Program will continue to cut their rations. They don’t get to choose where they live. Rather they wait, until they’re told what “zone” they’ll be living in within the camp. Which in turn defines when they receive rations and what school their children can attend. They’ll be told how old they are, given a general month and year; an approximation made by whichever UN worker is assessing them upon arrival. Anything considered a novelty like the Internet, income generating activities, social clubs, etc., will be dependent on the aid of non-governmental organizations.
What I found to be the most humbling about these responses is that these mothers are just like every mother I know. They dream the same dream for their children as my sister does, and as my brother, and friends who are all parents do. Yet a refugee parent wakes up everyday, with their children, surviving in an environment and context that they don’t choose or control.
What choices will you make today? Want to give a refugee mother the choice to have her daughter play organized soccer? If so, click here to give just $10 to sponsor one child for the Darfur United Soccer Academy.