Four Figures and Countless Smiles - GOALS Wraps Up a Busy Summer

The Darbonne girls team

At the end of August, GOALS wrapped up a jam-packed summer in Haiti. In June, we expanded to new communities in the south and reached a benchmark of 500 youth participants in our programs. In July, we were kept busy with summer camp and volunteer-run workshops. In August, children collected litter from public areas and GOALS teams had strong showings in Léogane’s summer tournament series.

Other highlights include:

  • Volunteer Lance Anderson, who has worked closely with teams in Léogane on the field and in the classroom. In addition to coaching, Lance has taught English and computer skills and helped develop GOALS’ administratively behind the scenes.
  • The International Platform on Sport and Development featured GOALS as a notable organization using sport in Haiti.
  • Volunteers from Sustain Haiti returned to Destra for their second summer in a row, where they taught English and first aid courses, and worked with staff and campers on GOALS’ community garden.
  • GOALS benefited from incredible support from Ken Sommers, Jim Litrownik, Heather White, and Jesse Griff-McMahon – thank you!

New cleats!

As GOALS has grown its programs this summer, we’ve continued to develop how we evaluate our impact in Haiti. Some numbers are simple enough – our programs reach over 500 children in five main areas in the west, south and southeast. On average, each participant lives with about seven other people. Through our outreach to player’s families, such as distribution of water filtration systems, GOALS impacts an additional 3,500 people. That’s a big difference!

Here’s another number: 4,050. That is a conservative calculation of the number of gallons of trash that children collected from public areas through GOALS programs this summer. Haiti’s environmental problems are widespread, and litter only accounts for a fraction of the problem. However, training a new generation of young leaders to take action on these problems can make a huge difference.

Destra's undefeated goalkeeper (photo: Jovan Julien)

Finally, the simplest number of all: 0. That’s the number of games that the boys’ team from Destra – GOALS’ first ever team – lost in their first year of playing. This summer, the “Kona Athletic Club” celebrated twelve months of competing undefeated. The team played approximately 50 games, often against highly trained adults, and practiced hard to earn this record.

These numbers tell the story of GOALS best. We’re thrilled to be reaching hundreds of children, and are working hard to improve their communities, educational opportunities, and the environment. Our true impact may be much larger – these figures don’t account for the difference one GOALS player can have on his neighbor, or her classmate at school.

Enjoying summer camp (photo: Jovan Julien)

That aside, what it really comes down to is love of soccer. From everything that GOALS accomplished this summer, what stands out most are the smiles. Players chasing indestructible footballs on a mountain, juggling during lunch breaks, winding up for a kick – all with huge grins on their faces. The joy these kids find on the field is contagious, and that is something to celebrate as we gear up for fall.

Want to put a smile on your own face? Don’t forget – you’re invited to “Zumba for GOALS Haiti,” a fundraiser in Seattle on September 17. Click here for event details.

A huge thank you to Nick Smith from California, who is unable to make the event but generously donated the cost of his trip instead! Click here to make a donation.