Our mission is to foster love, compassion, service and an expanding worldview as we take teams to economically disadvantaged areas, partnering with local organizations and community members to build courts which will provide kids with the opportunity to play sports.
…to foster love, compassion, service and an expanding worldview.
We believe that every American, young and old, should take part in an immersion experience in a ‘foreign’ culture, especially in the developing world. These experiences, if entered into with humility and openness, have the power to increase compassion, empathy and global awareness. Because our team and the local community take on an equal status relationship, work together on a task to achieve a common goal and develop friendships in the process, our trips challenge stereotypes, enable people to see the human face of important global issues and have the potential to create better local and global citizens.
…as we take teams
Every trip is a collaborative effort between a local community and a team of volunteers. We believe that by facilitating the projects through volunteer teams, these courts transcend mere ‘distant acts of charity,’ and become symbols of partnerships that will impact both groups far longer than the courts will last.
We take a variety of teams including high school and college groups, sports teams, senior project groups, youth groups, religious groups, adult groups, and teams open to anyone from the general public. Each of these trips is uniquely designed to fit the needs of the specific groups.
…to economically disadvantaged areas
We focus our projects on areas with the greatest need where kids are most restricted in terms of access to sports. Although places we go might have less economically and we can help them in large ways with relatively little, we also believe that there are plenty of areas in which they might be ‘wealthier’ than us, such as family and community relationships, contentment, joy in the simple things, etc. We approach each trip with the question, “What can we learn?”
Most of the communities we go to have a very different pace of life and different values than the ones we are so accustomed to yet often unaware of. G.K. Chesterton said, “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” These experiences in communities so different from ours have the unique ability to cause us to see our own world through a different lens.
…partnering with local organizations and community members
We only choose to go places where we have been invited and where there is a grassroots initiative within a community to create a safe place for their kids to play. We do not want to create the vision, but to assist others where the vision is already present but extremely difficult or unattainable without partnerships. It is a priority for us that people in the community are actively engaged in improving the quality of life in the community and are committed to doing so indefinitely. We also only choose to go to places that express a strong desire for a sports court and have communicated to us ways in which a court will greatly benefit their community.
We hire local contractors who often have a personal stake in the court project to ensure local ownership, local procurement of materials, local construction techniques and sustainable systems that were created locally and will be able to be fixed locally. We work alongside the local company, mostly providing manual labor. Most of the time, the kids from the community also jump right in and help contribute to the court building as well.
…to build courts which will provide kids with the opportunity to play sports
We believe that the opportunity to play sports is important for the health and well-being of kids all over the world. Many kids do not have access to facilities to provide such opportunities. Such kids often find themselves more prone to drug use, sexual activity and other harmful behaviors.
We also believe sports are unique in their ability to build bridges between ethnic groups and help tear down walls of prejudice, hatred and bitterness.
We have found that a simple sport court can have multiple uses for a community. It can first and foremost be a source of play and recreation for children and adults. It can be a community gathering place, an income generator, an added facility for health and PE programs at schools, a place to dry rice and most often, a place for celebrations!