500 happy, healthy players... and counting!

A homemade soccer field in rural Haiti (Destra, 2007)

When you drive through Haiti, it’s amazing how many soccer fields you see. On the side of highways, steep mountain slopes, in front yards, and on the beach – makeshift pitches are everywhere. Nearly all of the time, they’re odd shapes, sizes, and surfaces. The beautiful thing is, though, that the rocks underfoot and lopsided goal posts don’t change anything that’s important about the game. The kids still run as hard as they can, show off their footwork, and cheer like they’ve won the World Cup after every goal.

GOALS has been on the road in Haiti a lot in the last month. We started new sites in La Coline and St. George in Haiti’s South department; Bainet, in the Southeast; Magandu in the West; and nearly doubled our programs in Leogane. This means that we’ve been jumping in the car and seeing the country’s most remote rural communities, and helping some of Haiti’s poorest kids discover the joy of playing soccer with a real ball. These kids already know that GOALS does more than just soccer, however. Community clean ups, clean drinking water, and scholarships are all part of our efforts to improve these young players’ of quality of life now and in the future.

As a result of our busy month, GOALS is proud to announce that we currently work with over 500 children through our daily programs in Haiti! Most of our projects impact players’ families as well – as the average player has an additional seven residents in his or her household, GOALS is indirectly affecting an additional 3,500 people.

GOALS' newest team, sponsored by The Delaney Bay Fund

How is this all possible? The first-time donors who contributed this month, commitment of local staff, and immense support from our sites’ communities all allowed us to go farther this month than ever before.

We’ve benefitted as well from exceptional international visitors and volunteers, who have donated their time, energy, and expertise in June. Owen Bartlett, of SustainaBall Change, visited us to distribute soccer balls and other equipment, allowing us to support current sites and create new ones. We had an amazing time with the crew from Waves 4 Water, and are thrilled about our collaboration to provide children in Haiti with Nike’s game changer kits, which combine basic soccer gear with simple water filtration systems.

Shayna Teutsch ran a one-week girl power workshop of her own creation, called “Rise Up!” The workshop was a huge success, with over 30 girls participating daily in activities that developed self-confidence, taught new life skills, and engaged them in sport. Thanks to Shayna, a new team was formed, and these girls now practice daily with a volunteer coach. We are seeking sponsors to help this team build on their early successes.

GOALS' newest girls' team warms up with a song

In addition to Shayna, we’ll bring you stories and pictures from Jovan Julien and Alex Carroll, GOALS volunteers who are still with us in Haiti. Jovan has been conducting a three week photography workshop with local players and Alex is improving our vegetable gardening program and researching local agriculture practices.

With all of these developments, our original site, in a fishing village called Destra, has continued to flourish. This year, the staff has taken on more responsibility for the camp and are working with over 100 children daily in a range of educational, sport, and creative activities. The participants are growing up, and their development as young leaders is reason to celebrate. It’s wonderful to see how confident our staff members are in their work and how happy the children are as part of GOALS. 

School children in our newest site run to greet GOALS and Waves 4 Water

GOALS is poised for an exciting summer. We’ll be bringing you news from our daily programs, new teams, and international partners in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, to see recent photos and updates, please visit our Facebook page. As always, we’d love to hear from you!

To get in touch, email contact@goalshaiti.org and let us know how you’d like to get involved.

Ending a community clean up in Leogane on a high note