I will be travelling to Nicaragua with the SWB where I will have the opportunity to make a difference one woman at a time through soccer.
I have recently been accepted to travel to Nicaragua with the Soccer Without Borders (SWB) program. The program will have 16 current or recently graduated D-I women on the team that will travel, for a week, to three cities to put on coaches camps, players camps, and play in three friendly matches including one against the Nicaraguan national team. Nicaragua is second only to Haiti in the amount of poverty and economic turmoil in South America. The goal of the program is to empower women through soccer in order to improve the overall society and economy.
As you probably know, I graduated in the summer of 2009 from Bucknell University. I am in my third year teaching high school math and science at Vail Mountain School. I also coach the girl's high school team and am the director of a sports performance camp in the summer. By pursuing my passions since graduation and sharing them with others, I have started to define my current life goal: make a positive difference in the world. Every day, with the kids I teach and coach, I strive to increase their happiness by helping them find something they can enjoy and be passionate about. Soccer Without Borders is a fantastic opportunity for me to achieve this goal on a global scale.
I am extremely excited to help empower the Nicaraguan female population by helping girls develop a sense of equality with their male counterparts, learn to set goals to achieve personal success on the field, learn to be a good teammate, and improve their overall health. SWB would allow me to serve as a mentor and a leader to develop a connection with girls from very different backgrounds than myself. I deeply believe that seeing a strong, young female will inspire some of these girls to grow and reach their potential physically, emotionally, and mentally by being involved in a very special sport. Not only would I like to have the girls in Nicaragua learn from me, but I am hoping that I can learn from them as well. I will be seeing firsthand the vastly different circumstances we (as women athletes) face as they do not receive much support from their communities and families in pursuing playing a sport as a female. Finally, I am passionate above travelling and seeing new places. As with most experiences in life, I value my traveling experiences the most when I have made a deep connection with the place I have visited. This trip provides me with a unique opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture and develop a connection with the place and people through soccer.
The life lessons that soccer has taught me are the most valuable and applicable to everyday life than any others. To learn to be a good teammate is analogous to learning to be good people. I believe that teaching others to be good teammates teaches them, at the same time, to be a good person. In one’s commitment to better the whole, she will learn to better herself individually. Helping to build stronger teams in Nicaragua will help the girls feel a sense of inclusion and help them realize that their team can also serve as a family and a support system even for matters not soccer related.
Much of my passion for having a positive impact in the global community (in this case Nicaragua) has been influenced by the commitment of our school and community to global citizenship. Recently, our school hosted, for the school and Vail community, a global solutions forum that included a presentation and discussion on the book, “Half the Sky,” a depiction of the oppression of women around the world turned into a documentary of the same name. Micheala Beardsley, the executive producer of the PBS movie series on this book, hosted these discussion sessions about global issues and raising awareness about the positive impact women can have on their communities when they are provided and take advantage of educational opportunities. Since this forum, I have spearheaded an effort to bring the film “Miss Representation” and strong, local women role models to campus and have this be part of a global solutions discussion as well. My participation in SWB is an extraordinary opportunity to be part of an effort to follow in the footsteps of “Half the Sky” and turn oppression into opportunity for women in Nicaragua.