SustainaBall Change uses soccer as a driver for social progress. We accomplish our mission by partnering with American schools and soccer programs along with nonprofit organizations. We collect used soccer balls and other soccer equipment from our domestic partners and deliver them to our international partners. SustainaBall Change hopes to use the power of soccer to support at risk youth and community development in some of the poorest places in the Caribbean and Central America.
Owen Barrett, the founder, explains why he started SBC:
I began playing soccer at a young age and continued to play competitvely through college. My time on the soccer field not only developed a life long passion, but also opened my eyes to the positive aspects of the game, both on and off the field. Soccer encourages hard work and also inspires sportsmanship and a sense of accomplishment. Soccer also has the ability to transcend language and cultural barriers.
Unfortunately, millions of youth around the world who play the world's most popular sport with improper equipment or with no equipment at all. On a trip to Egypt a few years ago I experienced this reality first hand. Kids were playing soccer everywhere, but in almost every case it was with nothing but bare feet and empty cans or rolled up newspapers for balls.
American children who grow up playing soccer in many cases aren't satisfied unless they wear the newest cleats or kick the most cutting edge balls. Something needs to be done for the millions of youth who can't afford the most basic equipment.
SBC is built on an elegant and powerful model. Many collegiate soccer programs use the best equipment only for a short time before replacing it. Through contacts in the collegiate soccer world, Owen has arranged for university and college programs to donate their used balls and equipment on an ongoing basis and to officially get behind and promote SBC. Those schools and conferences will be able to directly support poor communities in the Caribbean and Central America.
In June 2011 Owen travelled to Haiti to make SBC's first equipment delivery to a local partner organization, GOALS Haiti.GOALS was founded in 2009 by Brown University graduate Kona Shen. Kona has developed an innovative approach to philanthropy. GOALS inititates soccer programs in Leogane, first paying local coaches and program directors, supplying soccer equipment, and providing transportation for team travel, then turning over the responsibility for sustaining these programs to local communities and leadership when the time is right.
During that first trip Owen delivered 100 soccer balls, 27 cones, 34 pinnies, 25 player bags, 2 equipment bags, and 12 pumps to the island.
This is just a small start, however. SBC aims to become a major source of equipment for kids in places like Haiti.
In order to collect equipment and generate support and donations, Owen will hold the first College Camps Tour in 2012. Owen describes the Tour this way:
The idea is to rent a truck and drive the length of California and visit colleges and universities with soccer programs. We'll coordinate everything ahead of time to streamline the trip, and aim to visit 3 schools a day. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for coaches to donate equipment. We also want to give players at the schools we visit a chance to get involved by organizing local equipment drives and generating donations. The Tour is a good way to interact with the schools, coaches and players that help make SBC possible.
Owen is currently in grad school at UC Santa Barbara and enjoys speaking to people about new ideas and volunteering opportunities for SBC. If you'd like to reach Owen, please send an email to SustainaBallChange@gmail.com or call him at 860-550-9469. You can also follow Owen and SBC on Twitter. Follow @SustainaBall
Visions Made Viable is glad to help Owen build SBC through fiscal sponsorship, administrative support and consulting.
You can make a tax deductible contribution to SustainaBall Change by using the 'Donate' button below, or you can send a check payable to 'SustainaBall Change' to:
Visions Made Viable
17595 Harvard Ave.
Irvine, CA 92614
Be sure to save the email you receive from PayPal as your receipt. Contributions made to or for SustainaBall Change are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. SustainaBall Change, or its fiscal sponsor, Visions Made Viable, provides no goods or services for your contribution.