We all need some Boost to Thrive
As current professional volleyball players we know that many of the opportunities we have been given during our lives have come from the generosity and time of others. At this point in our lives we have the ability to spend extended time in developing areas to give children experiences they might otherwise not have. The opportunity to participate in sports, have supplies at children’s access and have classes small enough for individual attention do not exist in many areas of the world. Our goal is to lessen that gap in education a little bit this summer.
This summer we will be spending time in northern Zanzibar at The Zanzibar School of Hope. What once started with a small building and 20 students in 2015 has quickly turned into 216 students with only six teachers working. It is the only primary school in this part of the island that is tuition free and the school does its best to cover the basic needs of the students. With the size of the student population, the school has moved onto a large rental property. Since the school does not bring in any profit from tuition, the rent, teachers salaries and supplies are obtained through fundraising. The main priority of the school has been to give the basic needs for an education while supplies have been spread thin across the students. Our goal is to bring a more well rounded educational experience to the students by involving physical activity, art and English classes. Our main focus are the life skills that can be taught through these creative outlets: teamwork, patience, setting goals, making a plan, self discipline and resilience. Most importantly, these skills are being indirectly achieved while having fun with your classmates. After speaking with Coco, one of the founders of the school, we have discussed a project that will benefit the students, teachers and local community to sustainably create growth.
- Bring lasting supplies to the school to create consistent extra-curricular education
- Engage in different sports weekly with the students
- Combine the values of physical activity with educational goals
- Lessen the size of classes by having two additional teachers
- Provide each student additional school supplies
- Supply a locally purchased nutritious snack after physical activity
- Involve local community in our activities to create a lasting partnership
The supplies that we can purchase with the $5000 raised will be:
- Light volleyballs and soccer balls
- Yoga mats for outdoor stretching and yoga class
- Outdoor volleyball net
- Mesh practice jerseys
- School supplies (pencils, highlighters, notebooks, folders etc.)
- Large white board
- Cones, flags, hoops and other small physical education supplies
- Field Trip
- Unplanned costs for the benefit of project goals (this is our first project, we are sure there will be many)
It just started started with chasing one ball, getting to know the child next to you, following the orders of your coach, creating friends, learning how to control movements...and years later I am still doing that same thing, but as a profession more and with more passion than ever. Looking back I can see how sports gave me much more than my source of income today.
Sports was my life education, parallel with my everyday classes at school.
In school I learned how to use my brain, in sports I learned how to use my body.
Teachers showed me how to help my schoolmate solve the exercise, coaches showed me how to lift my teammate after her fall.
School taught me how to be an equal part of a group, whereas sports gave me the confidence to shine while being part of a group.
In school I learned about justice, where in sports I practiced equality.
School gave me knowledge, sports gave me feelings.
After finishing my Bachelor in Primary Education while being a professional athlete, I could see only similarities in my two passions, teaching and sports, and I strongly believe that these two could act complementary to shape the character and personality of every child, reinforcing them with multiple skills to face the future. I felt within me how sports play an equally important role as education, as I caught myself using teaching skills in my professional sport career and vice versa.
That’s the kind of experience I would like to share with children, who have not had the same educational and athletic opportunities as me.
Throughout my life athletics was the first thing I was truly sure about. One of my earliest memories was my Mom and Dad making sure I was stepping with the correct foot when I threw a ball.
Growing up, extra tall with crazy blonde hair, I wanted to do anything but stand out; I got so uncomfortable when I felt someone looking at me. My first volleyball tryout at my local club, Michigan Elite, was one of the only times I remember being glad someone noticed me. Being in the gym taught me how to be creative, use my imagination and rewarded differences. It showed me what it meant to truly feel passionate about a goal. Every practice I got to try something new and go for it. At the time, it wasn’t about getting a college scholarship, becoming an All-American or playing professionally. I was just a kid, trying to keep a ball in the air with other kids.
We have been able to make a profession out of the game but what we will be doing in Zanzibar is different than trying to give children the skills to become professional athletes. It’s the freedom to run after a ball. Teaching kids to be a teammate and lift someone up after they fall. Being a part of a group and learning your role within that group.
Volleyball led me to the University of Florida where I had the opportunity to study International Relations with a focus on Africa. The continent, being so large with a plethora of different cultures drew me to East Africa specifically. With that I studied Swahili, humanitarian intervention and the issues and successes this region faces. I knew last summer when I spent extended time in Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar that I would be going back as soon as I possibly could.
School taught me about politics, language and history. Sports gave me the confidence to talk about these things and believe I had something to say.
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