Dear Friends and Supporters of Youth Soccer,
As a parent, coach and former semi-professional soccer player I have seen how positive soccer can be in the lives of children and I am writing to ask that you consider making a tax-deductible contribution to “Project Winter Camp Jamaica” – a small-scale, grassroots project now in its second year.
Thank you all for making last year’s camp a success as we were able to bring the joy of soccer and the power of learning academic skills to over 150 children and young adults during the winter break camp we held in December 2014. This year we are returning with ten volunteer Chicago-area coaches to East Portmore, and Savanna-La-Mar, Westmoreland in Jamaica. Both in Jamaica and in Chicago I have been amazed at the people who have recruited their friends and families to get behind and support the project’s success. Your generosity made a lot of dreams come true and have made a huge difference in the lives of many children.
Our vision is to utilize the knowledge base of established coaches and other professionals to teach the beautiful game while serving as mentors to foster positive character development. Programming revolves around soccer, fitness and health but stresses core values such as teamwork, leadership and commitment in order to create lasting change in the community. I am an NSCAA-certified and a Master Soccer Coach with America SCORES Chicago where I work with at-risk youth and provide coaching education to over 100 coaches a year. I grew up in Jamaica and then came to the US on a soccer scholarship to play at Huntington College. I have worked in broadcasting, both in production and sales, but am fortunate to now be able to work fulltime on my passion and I want to take what I have learned back to my home town.
Last year we did the camp on a shoestring budget which covered the coaches’ accommodation and local transportation. For December 2015 we are gearing up to taking on three camps in a short eight day span. The biggest impetus of the camp this year is to get more Jamaican girls involved in soccer. I never played soccer with females growing up as it was looked upon as a man’s sport. My experience here in the States has opened my eyes up to look upon youth sports through a different lens. I have seen that given the same opportunity girls play just as well as the boys in any given sport on a level playing field. This year we aim for Project Winter Camp Jamaica to have an equal distribution of girls in relation to boys.
I have recruited a talented and dedicated team of 10 volunteer coaches from diverse backgrounds with an array of skill sets to implement and support this year’s winter camp. We will have an even number of female coaches who have played soccer at the college and club level here in the States, with the idea that this will help to provide good female role models for young girls to encourage them to play and continue to play the beautiful game.
As we did last year we also train Jamaican coaches and tie in health and wellness along with some leadership training for the youths that assist us during camp. We will be working in the Greater Portmore, St, Catherine, and then in Savanna-La-Mar, Westmoreland. These two communities are areas of Jamaica where neighborhoods are critically under-resourced and chronically under-served, leading to an environment that lacks models for success for youth and a void in safe, out of school time activities. The lack of soccer equipment and dedicated adult role models and coaches has been a constant hurdle and hardship for the community at large. Many of the local youth do not have the financial means to play soccer (they can’t afford the basic necessities of boots and a ball), and thus have resorted to adopting alternative lifestyles for answers – such as joining gangs or adding to the high rate of crime that plagues Jamaica as a whole. All of this makes the soccer coaching and life-skills mentoring of Project Winter Camp Jamaica extremely important.
We have already received numerous donations for the 2015 camp. Thanks to the generosity of one donor we will have camp T-shirt for every participant. Hunt 4 Soccer is back on board with the donation of 300 soccer balls. The Sports Shed has also put their support behind the project with donations of over 300 shirts and shorts combine and other equipment. All of the volunteer coaches will cover the costs of their own airfare. However, I still need to raise $6,000 to make Project Winter Camp Jamaica a success.
The funds raised for this project will be used for to ship soccer equipment and supplies, for local transportation and to provide accommodation, as well as meals for the volunteer and local coaches.
A small 501(c)3 non-profit organization, The Village Project Inc, will be serving as the fiscal sponsor for Project Winter Camp Jamaica. The Village Project Inc. has run numerous programs for youth and teachers overseas and, as in 2014, is providing administrative support to Project Winter Camp Jamaica at no cost. All donations are tax-deductible and can be made via Paypal to https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=JGD3FWEUKZ6JC or may be sent to 2029 W.Morse Ave, Chicago IL 60645 You can also visit our blog at https://projectwintercampjamaica.wordpress.com/ and also our Face book page.
Please don’t hesitate to call me with any further questions or concerns regarding this initiative.