Happy New Year! A letter from our Founder and Director

New cleats at Destra!

Dear GOALS Supporter,
Sometimes it seems there’s no better feeling in the world than to help a child put on that first pair of cleats. The big eyes, unrestrained glee, and clapping hands look like the purest form of joy.

Other times it seems like the best feeling must be building a new soccer fieldin a rural community where children play soccer barefoot. In one area, over 150 people of all ages showed up to help.

Or maybe it’s supporting the formation of a new soccer team, and cheering players on in their first game. For these young adults, it is their first time lacing up cleats, pulling socks over their shin guards, and proudly wearing a brand-new uniform to represent their community, and to represent GOALS.

Sportsmanship at Darbonne
Terasonson girls

Then again, it’s a remarkable feeling to hand out complete sets of brand-new school books to our scholarship recipients. The books on literature, science, and math all light up the students’ eyes.

Lastly, one of my favorite feelings is witnessing youth organize and carry out community projects and accomplish  real changes in their own backyards. Building public meeting spaces with discarded tires; taking on road rehabilitation in remote areas; planting vegetable gardens; and cleaning up hundreds of bags of litter – these projects are why GOALS is about much more than soccer alone.

2011 was a busy year for GOALS. The daily impact of our youth development programs has doubled in the past six months, and we now reach 476 children per day. The number of scholarship recipients doubled as well, and 23 students – our “Dream Team” – are now able to attend high school. From our start in a small fishing village with 120 children just 18 months ago, we have been doing our best to meet the demand for GOALS programs throughout the country.

High five!

The increase in GOALS’ impact attests to our dedication to empowering youth to making a difference in their lives today, and for future generations. Our mission is to use soccer to engage youth in community work that improves their quality of life, the environment, and local leadership.

This progress has been thanks to our international family of supporters, aka “Team GOALS.” By making a donation, raising awareness, collecting equipment – or all of the above! – you have made it possible for GOALS to expand its programs and reach more kids in Haiti. 100% of your donation goes directly to our programs in Haiti, and all donations are tax-deductible. Thank you for all the ways in which you have contributed to the successes of 2011.

We’re looking forward to the upcoming year and our plans to reach more kids throughout Haiti. New workshops, professional soccer clinics, expansion of summer camps, and outreach to handicapped children are all at the top of the agenda. Our core programs will remain a priority as we continue to focus on improving quality of life on a daily basis. As Dream Team member Minouche Charles wrote, “I didn’t know how to play soccer, or do recycling, or plant gardens and now thanks to GOALS we can do all that . . . we have found a better way to live.”

From everyone at GOALS, thank you for everything and happy new year to you and your family!

Thanks for a great year!
Kona Shen
Founder & Director

P.S. Love the photos? Click here to visit our Facebook page, with lots more great pictures and program updates from the field!