Four Baldwin Wallace University Student-Athletes Collecting Soccer Balls for Haiti
The group delivered 1,425 soccer balls and over 100 pumps on Friday, May 7. Read More below
1,300 soccer balls.
As of March 31, the group has collected 975 soccer balls.
(L-R): Jamie Shipley, Nate Smith, Zac Gaydosh
and Russ Mika collected over 100 soccer balls
in the first week of their initiative.
BEREA, OHIO – Four Baldwin Wallace University men’s soccer student-athletes have started a small initiative charged with the large goal of providing soccer balls to the earthquake-stricken children in Haiti.
Seniors Nate Smith (Ashland/Senior), Russ Mika (Medina/Senior), Jamie Shipley (Richfield/Revere) and Zac Gaydosh (Avon Lake) began the initiative known as “Soccer Balls 4 Haiti” just under one week ago with a goal of collecting a minimum of 250 new or used soccer balls to send to the children effected by the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
“This project was brought to our attention by the mother of a teammate,” said Smith. “She pointed to our love of the game of soccer and the importance of soccer in our lives as motivation for the project. She challenged us to collect just 50 soccer balls and that’s how we got started. We decided to challenge ourselves and set a goal of 250 soccer balls.”
The group partnered with the BW chapter of SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise) and got the ball rolling during the final week of January. SIFE is a non-profit organization that allows college students the opportunity to apply their education in community outreach programs. The mission and goals of both organizations seek to benefit others.
“We thought it was a great project and that we could use the resources of SIFE to make it legitimate,” noted Mika, who is BW's SIFE treasurer. “Once we saw the number of soccer balls coming in, we knew that we would easily surpass our goal of 250.”
“We’re not even through our first week of collecting and we are already over 70 balls with another 50 to be delivered to us tomorrow,” said SIFE President Shipley.
The group will be collecting soccer balls until the middle of April and teaming with another group (that chooses to remain anonymous) in the shipping of the soccer balls to Haiti.
Although they understand that there is a pressing need for food, supplies, and monetary donations to the cause in Haiti, the group also feels that their project can provide relief in another way.
“We want to get as many soccer balls as possible sent to Haiti and bring smiles to as many kids’ faces as possible,” said Smith.
“We hope to use the soccer balls as an outlet for the kids of Haiti to take their minds off of the devastation around them,” noted Mika. “Our minimum goal is 250 soccer balls and we feel that just one ball can impact the lives of 10 kids. If we meet our goal of 250, then we would have helped in the healing process for 2,500 kids. ”
The group expects hundreds of more balls to be collected in the coming weeks through donations and a partnership with the Columbus Crew of the MLS (Major League Soccer).
Ten “Soccer Balls 4 Haiti” drop-off points have been placed around Northeast Ohio and for now, all soccer balls being collected are being stored in Shipley’s, Mika’s and Gaydosh’s living room.
For more information or to donate to the effort, visit the “Soccer Balls 4 Haiti” website at: http://soccerballs4haiti.weebly.com/