First Pair of Cleats

GOALS Ambassador Chloe Spingler

I had a soccer ball at my feet as soon as I could walk, and my first pair of cleats are still framed in a small shadow box in my bedroom. My love of the game came in preschool, and only intensified the more that I played. My kids size 9 Velcro cleats quickly turned into size 12’s, and the Velcro was replaced with laces and a pair of goalie gloves. My backyard pop-up goals became white nets in stadiums, and I grew taller and more tactical on the field. At age 13 my fingers could just touch the crossbar if I jumped at the right angle, but just barely still. Before I knew it, I was a senior in high school outgrowing my final pair of cleats, preparing to take the field for my final season. What I have come to learn, though seemingly trivial, is that the confidence and security provided by the perfect pair of cleats is nearly unparalleled.

Perhaps, I have learned the most on the soccer field. Certainly, that soccer is much more than a game, instead becoming part of me. In essence, it has taught me the most significant lessons in my life. To always be a courageous leader. To be relentlessly humble and supportive of others. The love of the game and of my teammates. The appreciation of the bountiful comradery that beams from each athlete. The excitement of winning a well-deserved championship. The bitter taste of defeat and the beauty in perseverance. Throughout the years in my life, my most cherished moments took place on the soccer field, muddy cleats and all.

I am forever bound to support GOALS Haiti. This organization has given me an outlet to share my passion with athletes across the world. To provide them with uniforms and cleats, and to empower each athlete to engage in their community. Though it is much more than that. The close bonds shared between a soccer team can never be severed. The determination, leadership, respect, and trust fostered while on the field never seem to fade. I hope that soccer takes over their life as it did mine, and that each student becomes a bold leader, and a soccer enthusiast.

As obscure as it may seem, a pair of cleats can change a life, and they surely will. Through my experiences, I have found that there is something so special about a pair of cleats that fit just right. As I hang up mine for good at the end of this season, I will not be left with a void in my heart. Through my support of GOALS Haiti, I am filling it with a much greater joy: the ability to share my love of soccer, ultimately, changing lives. Though I cannot put cleats on the feet of every child in Haiti, I will certainly give it my best effort, as its effects are clearly long lasting. -Chloe Spingler, 17

 

Summer Camp in Arcahaie

We believe in sharing our knowledge and curriculum through outreach programs. Recently we partnered with StreetFootballWorld (SFW) and America Scores through a project with SUNY and the Kellogg Foundation to put on a summer soccer camp in Arcahaie, Haiti. Four of our coaches Emilio, Dyna, Jean Kendy and Rovenson took part. Other coaches from SFW’s network from Futbol Mas and Haiti Initiative also took part in the camp.

The coaches met for a planning session and then met with the mayor and his staff to introduce the program for the week. There was an opening ceremony to launch of the program that included speakers and dancing.  It was clearly the biggest event in town.

We were expecting 100 kids to attend this event, and 3,000 kids showed up.  At the start of the event, the national anthem of Haiti was played, which for everyone in attendance had a lot of significance because Arcahaie is the birthplace of the flag of Haiti.  Representatives from SUNY, along with many professors spoke of their vision for a learning village to be  built in Arcahaie with the summer camp being just one piece of their larger vision. The hope is to provide the kids with access to higher education, so they can make a difference in their communities going forward have Arcahaie be a model for the whole country. 

At the end of the opening ceremony 400 kids were selected at random to take part in the activities we had programmed. Each coach worked with 35 kids and started off by doing a circle of friends to have everyone introduce themselves. Animation exercises along with dancing was used to get the kids excited about the activities coming up.   

Every day covered a topic to discuss with the kids. The first day’s topic was gender equality.  Games related to this topic were used to show the importance of inclusion of girls. After each set of games, a discussion was held to hear their viewpoints and to make sure the message was understood. 

The second day the topic was how to resolve conflict in their community.  The coaches and kids discussed examples of conflict they encounter at home or at school and then they introduced the games which demonstrate how to resolve issues. Through these activities they now have the tools they need to resolve their own conflict peacefully. The days finished with friendly soccer matches between the teams. 

For the third and final day, we assembled all the kids to review the topics that were discussed. This camp was well received and came together through the great partnership with SFW and from the support of SUNY and their partners. We had a great experience, and we welcomed the opportunity to showcase the great work our coaches are doing in their communities in Haiti. We are looking forward to continuing this partnership and exploring ways to expand on the summer soccer camp. The kids not only had a great time playing soccer but loved learning valuable lessons as well.

Beyond Sport Awards

GOALS Haiti is proud to be a finalist for the 2018 Sport for Health and Well-Being Award.

Beyond Sport, announced the 35 projects that have been officially shortlisted for its prestigious Global Awards. Selected from over 400 applications, from 100+ countries and covering 53 sports, the shortlist recognizes the standout work of organizations who are creating positive social impact in communities around the world through sport.

On September 12, we will be present as representatives of each of the organizations will attend the 10th annual Beyond Sport Global Awards ceremony at One World Observatory at One World Trade, where the winners of each category will be announced. Attended by sports celebrities, business leaders and development visionaries, the Global Awards celebrate, support, raise awareness and provide funding through the Beyond Sport Foundation.

This year, the Foundation will award more than $350,000 to organizations that are using sport to help make the UN Sustainable Development Goals a reality. All shortlisted organizations will also receive a custom business support package from experts in the business, sport and development sectors to help strengthen their organizations through mentoring and fundraising tools.

“On behalf of the Beyond Sport Foundation and our judges, congratulations to our 10th anniversary Beyond Sport Global Awards Official Shortlist. This year’s group was especially competitive, so the organizations and individuals should be very proud of their achievement. We are grateful to be able to provide the opportunity to not only promote sport through our Global Awards, but also to continue to bring like-minded people together as resources for each other and to share ways that sport is and can be used to make the UN Sustainable Development Goals a reality,” said Nick Keller, Founder and President, Beyond Sport.

As a past winner of the Beyond Sport Award we are extremely honored to be shortlisted and recognized for our work. The continued support from Beyond Sport and all our partners is transformative in our efforts to create sustainable change through the power of sport for communities in rural Haiti.

Alumni Tournament

Recently we organized a tournament for GOALS alumni.  Since our inception in 2010, we have had hundreds of kids that have gone through our programs and have had 100 graduates. We organized this tournament as a way to connect with past participants and to get an idea of what some of our former players are up to since they graduated. 

For weeks leading up to the tournament we had our community leaders/coaches get the word across their communities that we were organizing a tournament for alumni players.  Many were eager to play soccer, while others were more interested in catching up with their friends and former teammates.

The first day of the tournament was focused on female alumni. 20 young women showed up from our communities.  The second day of the tournament was for male alumni and 56 showed up.  We explained to all of them that we wanted to hear from them and learn more about their lives now.

Before the games started, they were asked to fill out a general questionnaire. In that they were asked to pick 1 of 4 choices of professions in order to gauge their interest in them.  The professions listed were trade school, coaching and leadership, health agent training, or other.  With a high unemployment rate throughout the country, we are looking for possible ways we can help alumni pursue career paths.  The alumni interested in our coaching and leadership program will have the opportunity to take part in our new program starting in September.

After collecting results from our survey, we held the matches. It was great to see our alumni back on the field playing and everyone had a great time.  All our alumni were happy to know that GOALS Haiti is still very much interested in their lives. Click here to see results from the survey. 

Showing Up - A Campaign

Dear Friends of GOALS,      

When I am on the field one of my favorite things to see is our kids running from all directions showing up for daily practice. They are full of excitement and comradery. Having somewhere to be, something to do and focus on, is important for their personal growth.  

Showing up is half the game. The effort to do so and put oneself out there is an important life lesson. There are no other organizations working in these areas and a little support goes a long way. The community buys in in many ways including donating land for our soccer fields, volunteering as needed and participating in community meetings and strategic planning. All of us showing up to make a difference. 

 We are kicking off our fundraising campaign with the goal of raising 18K that will support daily programming for one of our teams for one year. By showing up our kids go after their dreams. Together we can provide them the opportunity to reach their potential. Join us by donating online, sending a check and sharing our campaign. 

From all of us at GOALS Haiti thank you for being a part of our caring community!

Kathy McAllister
Executive Director 

Annual Report

We are pleased to share our annual report with you.

When Kona Shen launched GOALS Haiti in 2010, she created a set of core values that continue to guide our work to this day. One of those—EMPOWERMENT & EQUALITY—remains a crucial and vital component. GOALS Haiti promotes equity and gender equality through education, sports curriculum and our community-led initiatives that empower citizens to drive forward local development. Our vision is a simple one: a future in which every child in rural Haiti can realize their potential and follow their dreams. This is what drives our work—the need to provide equal opportunities for children who might otherwise be left behind.

You can see the full report here.  

Global Energy Award

We are thrilled to announce that we have won the 2018 Energy Globe National Award for our work in Haiti. Our programs on recycling, tree planting and community gardens were submitted as the project titled "A Clean Field ". 

We were chosen out of 2000 submissions from over 180 countries. High-profile experts from the Energy Globe evaluation committee evaluated the submissions and selected the national winners. Our submission was chosen as the best project in Haiti and we were honored with the National Energy Globe Award Haiti. 

The winners including were presented on June 5th celebrating the World Environment Day. According to Energy Globe "Our main objective in cooperation with UNEP, is to point out that there are a lot of creative people on our world, including GOALS Haiti, who have implemented great projects with solutions to many problems." You can learn more here

Our submission is automatically evaluated on the international level too and we will be contacted later this year in case we are nominated for the Energy Globe World Award.

Young Leaders Program

Meet members of our Team Captains program that we just relaunched as our Captain and Youth Leadership Program.  The candidates were from a group of team leaders recommended by their teammates. Our coaches then chose the finalists based on their track records. 31 candidates went through an interview process with our Country Director James Louis-Charles and with our Program Coordinator Emilio Jean Paul.

The interview consisted of questions asking them to describe GOALS, the qualities of a leader, and questions on integrity.  A point system was used based on their answers and the ones with the highest points moved on to the final round of the selection process.  The final determining factor was their presence percentage in GOALS related programs.

A total of 20 participants were chosen from all 3 of our sites to participate in the program. These young leaders will assist in the Coaches Across Continent (CAC) program that uses soccer related games to discuss important issues in our communities. The curriculum deals with conflict resolution, gender equality and health risk awareness.  Our Program Coordinator, Emilio, who oversees the CAC program, will also manage the Captain and Young Leaders program. He will assess their performance by letting them take charge of the discussion process that usually follows the CAC games.  The leaders of the older teams will take down notes so that the CAC games serve as their apprenticeship. 

After spending a year into the Captain and Youth Leadership program, the older kids will be certified by GOALS as young leaders in their communities.  We will then invite them to take part in our outreach program in the summer of 2019 where they will be able to showcase their new skills as leaders to other communities.  We are giving our kids the tools they need to be empowered. We are excited for them to play an active role in deciding their own future and the future of their communities.

Annual Report

We are pleased to share our annual report with you.

When Kona Shen launched GOALS Haiti in 2010, she created a set of core values that continue to guide our work to this day. One of those—EMPOWERMENT & EQUALITY—remains a crucial and vital component. GOALS Haiti promotes equity and gender equality through education, sports curriculum and our community-led initiatives that empower citizens to drive forward local development. Our vision is a simple one: a future in which every child in rural Haiti can realize their potential and follow their dreams. This is what drives our work—the need to provide equal opportunities for children who might otherwise be left behind.

You can see the full report here.  

Fanm Se Poto Mitan

There is a saying in Haitian Creole that "fanm se poto mitan, meaning that women are the pillars of society. They run the household and on a daily basis, provide a way to support their families' needs despite severe odds.

As a way to gauge interest and need in our communities around work and vocational opportunities our Executive Director Kathy McAllister and our Board Chair Toby Simon met with a group of women and then a group of men for a series of focus groups. We wanted to know what current opportunities exist for community members to earn a living in our founding site of Destra. We also asked about if they had the opportunity what type of training would they be interested in. Destra is a remote fishing village so much of our discussions centered around fishing. 

The groups were led by local staff while Kathy and Toby observed, took notes and occasionally asked for further clarification. There were many opinions and a few surprises which is what we were looking for. It is so crucial for us to stay in touch with our communities needs and desires. They know best what can be successful in their area and we can help foster their plans to come to fruition. 

Here is some of what we heard in response to the questions what opportunities exist for work in the area and gender role perceptions. 

The women agreed that they would like more effort and activity for commerce like a small boutique or store. They do think that women can do the same work as men. There is more development and more opportunity for women to work than in the past. But with rising inflation things are harder. One comment we heard was "before you could make money by investing 200gd now you cannot."  When asked how people in the village would react if they did a non traditional job we got this response, "people do not live for other people so other people cannot prevent other people from doing what they want." And I loved hearing one young woman say "With a goal you can reach farther." 

The men consisted of 90% fisherman. They admitted that they would welcome other opportunities to learn a trade such as plumbing, carpentry and auto mechanic. Women take an active role in selling the fish caught at the market. If they had a freezer than they could make more money because they could sell anytime. Other ideas that they had for women to make money were setting up food stalls to sell to people who would come to the village to buy fish. 

The consensus was that women would like more opportunities to invest in commerce and start small businesses. Although some currently sell the fish their husbands catch, they are also interested in learning how to fish. They thought that the men in the village would not be supportive of their wish to learn to fish but that was not what we heard from the men, who said they would be proud for them to learn. There were mutual concerns over the safety of women fishing as it can be difficult and dangerous work. 

As an organization we will take what we have learned and use it to shape our next round of program design.  The includes addressing our alumni population and how they can increase their earning potential. 

Literacy Class in Session

Meet the new class of our Beyond Sport for education award winning literacy program in the community of Destra.  Our six months “Leveling the Playing Field” literacy program is meant to provide the members of our communities with the basic skills of reading, writing and numeracy. This removes barriers to further education and ultimately improves their future. 

Destra was our very first GOALS Haiti site. It is a remote community that can easily be overlooked due to its location.  It is situated about 40 minutes’ drive outside of Léogâne through sugar plantations on a long dirt and rocky road. This small coastal village of approximately 700 people is without running water and electricity. There is no traditional school and the remoteness makes it difficult for the kids to attend schools elsewhere. In fact, many of the schools are about an hour’s walk from Destra.

32 kids enrolled in our newest literacy class program which started March 5th. Our program is divided into two groups. 20 younger kids form one group and 12 form the older kids group. This alleviates the embarrassment, that some kids shared with us, at having to be in class with their younger sibling.   

The classes are held at the centrally-located Destra community center that was built in our partnership with the Building Goodness Foundation. The opportunity to learn in their own community is a huge step in the right direction.

For the kids in our literacy program, it brings a sense of normalcy to them to be able to attend class. When asked, many kids in this year’s literacy program would like to be teachers.  We hope this program will put them on a path to achieve their dreams.

 

Inseparable

My father was born in Haiti. He moved to the states when he was eight. Life, for him, wasn’t easy growing up. His parents spoke little English and worked long hours for little pay to put him through school, and it was his job to shoulder the responsibility of creating a better life for both himself and for his future family. But, as he would teach me twenty years later, that burden could easily be turned into motivation. He instilled in me at that young age that not only I ought to strive for greatness in all that I do but also to never take anything for granted.

Coincidentally, those character building lessons would happen over a backyard kick-around; a tradition that would not only foster my love for the game but also strengthen my relationship with my father. Very quickly soccer became much more than a game for me. It became a way to make friends, a way to escape the hardships of life or school, and a platform on which my parents and I could always build a conversation.

Before I could stop it, my life had become intertwined with the game and suddenly we were inseparable. When I was angry, I went to play; when I was sad, I went to play; when I was happy, I went to play and so on and so forth. Now, with the advantage of hindsight and reflection, I can understand why I have such a passion and such a desire to teach it to others. I want other kids to have the game of soccer as an outlet the same way I did. I want other kids to feel the thrill of success and learn the sweetness of perseverance after facing the bitterness of defeat.

That’s why I donated to and will forever support GOALS, Haiti. As a Haitian-American soccer player, nothing could be closer to my heart than an organization that combines my love for my country with my love for the game. More than that, I believe soccer is a medium through which all kids can find joy, acceptance, fun, and happiness. Soccer truly is a beautiful game, not just because of how it is elegantly played on the field, but because of how it unites us off the field.       - Alex Charles 

 

Meet Francesca

We want to introduce our newest staff member, meet Francesca Cassius. Francesca first came to GOALS in 2010 as a young player on our Destra team.  Now at 22 she has joined our staff in a newly created position as part time administrative assistant. After graduating the GOALS program, Francesca took it upon herself to continue her education and most recently, took computer classes.  Four months ago she started interning with us. 

Her skills with Office software and her can-do attitude prompted us to hire her!  Here is what she had to say about GOALS. 

"When I started with GOALS I thought it was just a program to show kids how to play soccer, but then I learned that it taught much more than that. I love to play soccer and all of the kids just want a chance to play. Even in the sun and even in bare feet the kids come to play. Parents learned the value of the program through the teachings on such things as environmental clean up, recycling, planting trees and community volunteering. 
It was important to learn about health and how to prevent certain diseases such as cholera and sexually transmitted diseases. We also learned how to prevent teen pregnancy. 
I wanted to continue to participate with GOALS so I offered to volunteer and I have been interning for the past 4 months. It is not easy to find work in Haiti. Everyone has something to offer and can work. Attitudes in Haiti are changing on what women can do and women are entering fields traditionally for men only. I am grateful for this opportunity"

We are fortunate to have Francesca as part of our team and we look forward to working together!

 

Ask For Choice

For 2018 we have made a commitment to staff development including leadership training. Last week we held a week long coaches training with Coaches Across Continents (CAC). We have partnered with CAC for the past 6 years and we use their curriculum daily on our fields.

The focus of this years training was the third and final phase of the Ask For Choice curriculum which focuses on equity, gender equality and sex education. The mornings were spent in coach learning and discussion around the games and social issues they seek to solve. It was helpful to hear what worked and where we can improve on getting the message of the games across.

The afternoons were spent with our coaches taking what they had learned and working with their teams in practice. When I asked one of our founding coaches, Nadege, if she had seen a difference since the inception of this curriculum she said she had. Communities now embrace girls taking part in sports and it has opened up other possibilities for their inclusion. 

Thank you to Charlie and Pedro from CAC for working with us and sharing their expertise. Pedro wrote about his experiences with us in Haiti and you can read about it in this blog post. To see more images from the training check out our Facebook album.

 

United With Haiti

Last week, the day before the 8th anniversary of Haiti's devastating earthquake and at a time when most were in mourning, Haitians (along with Africans and El Salvadorians) learned of insulting and hateful remarks by the President of the United States.

This is yet another example of discriminatory and stereotypically ignorant commentary on Haiti.

At GOALS we work hard to instill values through our sports for good programs that help teach kids in rural Haiti they can go after dreams, that they can value themselves and that they can value each other.

We are fortunate to have a staff, coaches, Board of Directors and supporters that come from a place of compassion and caring. We will continue to stay united with Haiti. And we will continue to encourage love over hate, inclusion over separatism, and equality over divisiveness.

The Haitian writer Edwidge Danticat wrote an eloquent response to the remarks and it is a recommended read.

 

Happy New Year - Bon Ane!

Wishing all of you a Happy New Year! January 1st in Haiti is also their Independence Day. This year marks the 214th anniversary of Haiti’s independence from France when she became the first black republic.

The picture above is of a statue located in the capital city of Port- Au- Prince and is called “Neg Mawon”. It commemorates the landmark slave revolt that took place in 1804 when Haiti broke free from the French. It remains an icon of Haiti.

The sculpture is a powerful piece – the left leg extended with a broken shackle at the ankle denoting the hard-fought freedom, a machete in the right hand showing the strength to fight, and the conch shell at the lips harkening to the calling of the masses.

This statue stands strong and unbreakable.  As we celebrate the new year we also celebrate the strength and beauty of the Haitian people.

We look forward to the new year and look to carry the momentum of a great 2017 into our efforts for 2018. Thank you to all who gave to our matching campaign! We reached our goal and raised 24K which will sponsor one whole team for the year. We still have teams that need sponsorship. You can join us in supporting them by checking out our ways to help.

Our 12 teams will be getting daily soccer practice, playing in tournaments, pursuing education opportunities and giving back to their communities through volunteer service projects. We will be partnering with Coaches Across Continents and The Third Half this year.

Our award winning literacy program will be brought to two new communities and our tree nursery will continue to not only produce much needed vegetation but also teach out kids the importance for caring for our environment.

Our Impact Director Kathy McAllister has been promoted to serve as our Executive Director. Kathy along with Country Director James Louis-Charles will work with our Board as our leadership team guiding GOALS. Also playing a critical role will be our community members that have shaped our programs from our inception. It is the Haitian people that know best what their communities need and the road to get there. We are facilitators along that path.

If interested here is a great article op-ed from Haiti’s U.S. ambassador which appeared recently  in the New York Times.  It emphasizes  the importance for treating our Haitian neighbors with dignity and respect.

 

Giving Back

Community service is a core part of GOALS’ work in Haiti. It is a way for our kids to give back and learn the importance of volunteerism. To be on a team and play soccer they all commit volunteer hours on projects that will benefit their community.

Community service includes local development projects that involve players’ families and adults in the area. Service also includes activities and events organized for children younger than 10 years old, and players who don’t yet have places on local GOALS teams.

The kids submit ideas for proposed projects and with our staff they are provided the means to take charge of their own reasonable project.

Unlike other aspects of their life they may not be able to control, volunteering allows them to choose where and how to make a difference. It’s easy to get inspired with a cause they truly care about—and it’s rewarding for them to see their direct impact.

This year, the kids in Carrefour Croix painted the water faucets with bright colors to match their enthusiasm for the programs. The water faucets are a wonderful meeting place for the community members to meet and talk given there is no other water source in this community.

For the Destra kids, their priority was to fix the road leading to their isolated community. To get there, you must go on a road that runs through a sugar plantation for at least a mile. When it rains, the road is impossible for cars. At times even, taxi motorcyclists must avoid the road. It is the same road the kids must take to get their school.  Their presence in school is affected by the quality of the road. We assisted them with the tools and supplies to fix part of the road themselves.

As for the kids in Bossan, they had a bigger need since their field was recently bought by a foreign businessman to build a hotel. After a meeting where we demonstrated the importance of the programs to the community we were able to convince the owner of the sugar cane field next door to allow us to use the field next door. The Bossan kids have taken on the responsibility to clear the field so they can start using it in January.

From the kids’ tree nursery that they have been tending all year we have been able to plant over 3k trees. Most recently we planted 1,300 trees in rural Léogane over two days. 100 kids participated, and trees included mango, cherry, avocado and flamboyant.

These projects are a great way for the kids to give back to their villages and serve as important learning opportunities for these bright young community leaders.

 

Proud Graduates

Our literacy class held ceremonies last month where kids accepted their certificates of graduation in front of proud parents and GOALS staff members.

Their teacher Madame Sangla Cenatus taught the kids in her classes over the past 7 months. Her classes are full of energy as she incorporates dancing and singing in her literacy and numeracy course.

Of the 25 kids 23 kids passed their final exams, and only two did not pass.  Most importantly, the average test score for the class had jumped to 6.42/10 up from mid-term testing.

To celebrate their achievements, kids showed up in their Sunday best along with their parents and friends for the event.  A few students told the audience about the importance of the literacy program to them.  Other talented kids from the community were asked to present a sketch about how literacy can help with social inclusion and upward mobility in Haiti.  Finally, some kids prepared a choreographed dance routine for the occasion with music blasting.  It was the biggest event in Bossan that afternoon.

GOALS staff members Emilio, Jean Kendy and James gave a short speech explaining the importance of the program.  Madame Sangla also talked about how pleased she was to see her students improving their reading and writing skills over the few months that she taught them.  They had come a long way and we were all proud of them.

All the students were happy not only of the fact that they could now read and write, or in some cases, had improved on their low literacy skills, but also of the fact that their parents were full of pride with them.  At the end of the ceremony, parents were asking GOALS staff members to please take a picture of them with their graduating kid. As one parent told us, "It is because of GOALS, that some students who didn't know how to read and write, learned to read, write and to count.  This will motivate them to give education a lot more importance or value."

We hope this achievement will empower the kids to continue to go to school so they can continue with their education.

As GOALS Haiti strives to empower people in their communities, the ability to read and write is extremely important in the fight against social exclusion in Haiti.

 

Seeing GOALS in action: a truly eye-opening experience

It is one thing to kick start fundraising campaigns, to donate money and equipment, or to raise awareness for a charity. But it’s a whole other experience to see and understand the value of the work you put in, on the people it directly impacts. Travelling to where your work manifests itself, and journeying to different locations that might have remnants of the work you put in from far, far away can have a truly lasting impact.

I first got involved with GOALS in 2014, searching the internet for a service project for my Bar Mitzvah. I knew I wanted to raise money for a charity that somehow involved soccer but also had its roots in a developing country. Up came GOALS Haiti, the perfect match.

In appealing for money through friends, family, and their connections, I raised enough funds to sponsor one GOALS team. The team I chose is called the Boys’ and Girls’ Ti Poisson team, based out of Carrefour Croix. It was such a success that we have continued our sponsorship of the team for the past few years. It is great to get updates on how the team was doing, letters from the students, and postcards from the team thanking them for my sponsorship — but the most truly eye-opening experience was going to Haiti and seeing the GOALS teams in action.

This summer was my “eye opening” experience, my 3-day trip to Haiti to see the country and the GOALS Operations in Leogane and the surrounding villages. On the way to the village of Destra was the village of Carrefour Croix, where my sponsored team is from! I was so excited when I realized that the group of kids who had just piled into the back of the pickup truck I was in was the team I had sponsored. I thought to myself, “I get to see kids wearing clothes I had donated, playing the game I love, all with my help.” Arriving at the field site we were welcomed by young kids not yet old enough to play and an astonishing view of the surrounding mountains.

One of GOALS’ best coaches, a clearly well-liked and charismatic woman, was leading a pre-game cheer/activity with the kids. The kids were having so much fun doing something as simple as a group warm-up combined with a song and dance. After trying to communicate with some of the kids on the sideline and carrying a few around, the game started. I was shocked to see how many people showed up. A girls’ game with so much support in a country that has issues with gender equity is a powerful thing. This, I think, can attest to the substantial impact that GOALS has on the communities it exists in -- changing cultural norms for the betterment of society, little by little. The game was lots of fun to watch. People all around were gathered for the love of GOALS and the game of soccer.

After the game, we left and walked a bit into the town of Destra, maybe about 200 yards away. I was quite surprised; I expected the villages I had heard so much about to be much larger and have a bit more infrastructure. This town was quite small and did not have a road going through it.  We had a basic lunch in the schoolroom of the Destra Community Center. The center has clearly become the focal point of the village, with boys, girls, men, and women of all different ages gathered around, talking, eating lunch, and shucking coconuts.

All in all, I had seen the team I had sponsored in Carrefour Croix, a game at the Destra field, a coach in action, and a squadron of spectators who rely on or are connected with someone who relies on GOALS in some way. A community center, another GOALS town, and a school room with a chalk board. All thanks to GOALS, and the work of those supporting the organization. It was seeing it all in action, not just observing from far away. This, I can assure you, is what it means to see your work in action. And it is a truly invaluable experience. - Max R 

A Perfect Match!

It is the perfect match – soccer and learning. We have seen the impact on our kids as well as entire communities through our sport for development model. Soccer is the most popular sport in Haiti and all of our kids love to play it. It is through that love that our kids immerse themselves in learning.

They come together daily for practice with their team mates and coaches. My favorite part of the day is to see the kids coming from all directions.  The older kids help the younger kids, not only with their soccer skills, but even with tying their shoes.

They tell us that GOALS has helped them to be healthier, get an education and be a better friend. After school programs are rare in Haiti and kids are hungry for inclusion. They welcome the opportunity to participate in our other programs such as literacy and community service.

Being part of something bigger and giving back to their communities teaches important skills and gives them a sense of pride.

“I love soccer. When I started back in 2010 girls’ soccer was not that popular in Haiti. But GOALS brought that opportunity here. Now the community sees how it can take us further. I started volunteering with GOALS because I wanted to see the program grow. Now I am working with the little kids helping them to learn, play and grow.” – Rosemirlande, former GOALS student & current Coach

Currently we are in need of raising 20K in team sponsorship support that provides daily programing for 25 kids for one year. Through a generous match offer from one of our longest supporters every dollar contributed between Oct 18th and Dec 20th will be matched dollar for dollar up to 10k.

Help us reach our target and stretch your gift even farther by taking advantage of our match opportunity. Together with your support we are providing the vision that is creating young leaders.

Join us in changing entire communities and fostering growth in rural Haiti through team GOALS.

Sincerely,

Kathy McAllister
Impact Director