Student’s yearly chance to lace up their cleats and play soccer for a good cause is coming up as the Concordia Volunteer Abroad Program’s fundraiser kicks off Saturday, Sept. 28, at Hampstead Park.
The fundraiser returns for its fourth consecutive year, created by Rich Leschiutta after a visit with poverty-stricken children in Uganda as part of CVAP. What was most striking to him was that the children would tear around their local soccer field every night despite some obvious obstacles.
“The field was cratered, the kids didn’t have shoes, and in all likelihood, only eaten one solid meal that day but they would come every night to play,” explained Leschiutta in a promotional email last year, “The smiles on their face as the played is the thing I can never forget.”
Melissa Payette, president of CASA Cares, explained the event has collectively raised approximately $1,600 in past years with an average of 11 teams signing up for the tournament.
This year, 12 teams have already signed up, and accounting for the usual last-minute entries, Payette estimates this year’s fundraising may raise up to $2,000.
This is the tournament’s first year at Hampstead Park where the equipment will be included and the field will be regulation size, which will both save money and hopefully attract more players said Payette.
“For [the volunteers] it’s a really long day but it’s so, so worth it,” she said. “I remember last year, I think I must have been on the field from 9 a.m. to about 7 p.m. and by the time I got home, I couldn’t even form sentences. But it’s so rewarding.”
The funds go towards providing volunteers in Gulu, Uganda, with supplies for their stay in the community.
The specific jobs that the volunteers are assigned to can change daily, said Payette, because the area is so destitute and there are endless ways the volunteers can help. Sometimes that includes building houses, other days it means digging wells.
The tournament runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information on the soccer tournament visit casacares.com/events and for more information on travelling the world while volunteering with Concodia go to concordiavolunteers.org.
Updated: Sept. 26, 2013