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Ball Deliveries

Charity Ball delivers soccer balls during the World Cup

To Russia With Love: Soccer Ball Delivery

By | Ball Deliveries

One of the most incredible weeks of my life without a doubt…

I had an absolutely unbelievable time in Russia. The experience was super humbling. It’s been awhile since my last personal soccer ball delivery, so traveling to Moscow during the 2018 World Cup was a refreshing and meaningful experience.

The ball recipients this time were beautiful kids living with Cancer, Down syndrome, and various forms of mental illness. We also spent time at a location outside of Moscow where the kids were either deaf or hearing impaired. Because they weren’t able to fully speak, their smiles and laughter said it all.

Every opportunity with Charity Ball is special. However, this delivery in particular was extraordinary. The vibes after each delivery were so surreal. It was like I was being lead to discover what life is really about. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine and forget about everything outside your own personal world. But these deliveries served as a reminder to me that my concerns and interests are so trivial. There is a whole planet full of kids and people who are hurting and struggling to make it day-to-day. Our job, or my job at least, is to realize that they can be celebrated, helped, and empowered if I take the chance to get beyond my fleeting cognitive intentions and commit to action.

I want to give a quick shoutout to Continental Tire and the following people for helping us put together this amazing project:

Amanda Henson
Julie Conlin
Vladimir Barvinok
Ekaterina Surina

Also thanks to Alexandra Holland and Natalya Pavlova from Johnson & Johnson for helping with delivery logistics.

Finally, I want to say a big THANK YOU to those of you who support our work. It means the world to have your backing. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without you.

The Reason To Believe campaign is still LIVE and I’m working to secure the remaining $18K. It would mean the world to have your financial support so we can continue to bring hope to kids across the planet. Donate here.

THANK YOU!

Ethan King

By: Ethan King, Charity Ball Founder
Charity Ball ball delivery in Russia for World Cup

To Russia With Love

By | Ball Deliveries

It’s World Cup season, and group play has almost wrapped up! Now is when things start to get interesting.

In two weeks time, I will be on a plane to Russia. But, I will not be there for the games. Instead, I will be partnering with Continental Tire to hand-deliver 200 custom soccer balls to disadvantaged kids in orphanage facilities. This project has been in the works for a few months now, so I am thrilled that it is finally coming to fruition.

Reason To Believe

I Need Your Help

In conjunction with my trip, I’ve launched a #ReasonToBelieve $25K fundraising campaign. The reality is that many kids who are Charity Ball recipients live in extreme poverty and often lack hope. However, the simple gift of a soccer ball plus clean drinking water can change their lives and give them a Reason To Believe that a better future is possible. This fundraiser will sponsor a Christmas soccer tournament for 500 kids and give clean drinking water to an additional 7,500 people in Kenya.

Here’s How You Can Help:

1.) Donate To My #ReasonToBelieve Campaign Here
2.) Help Promote the Campaign: Leverage your social media and/or your social influence.
3.) Spread The Word: If there are other people in your circle who have a heart for what we’re doing, we’d love to have them on board.

Thanks for your support!

Ethan King

By: Ethan King, Charity Ball Founder
PS: follow us on Twitter @TeamCharityBall for real-time updates from Russia.
charity ball, soccer charity, ball delivery

Soccer Charity, Soccer Love

By | Ball Deliveries

Ten year old Ella recently returned from a “vacation with a purpose” where she hand-delivered Charity Balls. Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria both left a devastating mark on the Turks and Caicos Islands where Ella, her mother Britt, and her grandmother Cindy went last month. They volunteered at a local primary school and hand-delivered new soccer balls to the kids.

Ella delivers soccer balls for Charity Ball

Here’s what Ella had to share with us:

“One of the little boys, Alexis, who received a Charity Ball had recently lost his dad and was sent to live at the local orphanage. It was evident that he was having a very difficult time with the transition. When I told him he was getting his very own soccer ball and he could pick out which one he wanted, he couldn’t stop hugging us saying, ‘You mean I get to keep it?’ All day long he hung onto that ball and wouldn’t stop smiling. In fact, he wrote his name on it because he didn’t want anyone else to claim it 🙂
So many children were moved and lit up with smiles because of Charity Ball’s generosity. It brought us all to tears! Thank you so so much for helping make this mission possible!”

Alexis receives a soccer ball from Charity Ball

Ella, thank you for taking time out of your vacation to share the gift of soccer and make the lives of kids a little more beautiful!

The Beautiful Game in Uganda

By | Ball Deliveries, Recipients

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about working with children over the past five years in rural Uganda, it’s that kids love soccer. When everything else seems so unfair or uneven in a community that has abundant need, a game of soccer can be a way to level the playing field. A simple game played with a single piece of equipment (a ball) has the power to bring together people from different backgrounds, beliefs, tribes and cultures to achieve a common “goal”.

This past July, Far Away Friends partnered with Charity Ball to hand-deliver 24 soccer balls to kids in Namasale, Uganda where we work to alleviate education poverty by supporting schools in rural communities.

Our first stop in Namasale was the school that we opened in 2016, Global Leaders Primary School (GLP). Our team was warmly welcomed by our fifteen-member Administration, Teaching and non-Teaching staff who were excited to hear about our latest partnership with Charity Ball. They’d been busy planning GLP’s very first official soccer game against Namasale Central Primary School (another primary school located outside of the village in town) who they’d invited to play on our unfinished and thorny (but large!) pitch.

As our team began unpacking soccer balls one after another, our teaching staff (most notably Teacher, Sebastian, who has a deep love for soccer as a means of teaching teamwork, empathy and trust) were completely in awe. The look on their faces was something we’ll be sure not to forget for years to come.

We’d decided that we would keep several of the balls at GLP. The rest would be brought to the kids at the neighboring primary and secondary schools, and given as a gift to extend a hand of friendship. Next year, we plan to launch a program through which we will be able to support the needs and development of more schools in the Namasale area. The ability to gift a soccer ball to the kids at the schools we hope to work with, as a symbol of our future partnership, was an invaluable asset to our organization.

The day of GLP’s soccer match was one of our proudest days as an organization. Watching the students come alive and fearlessly compete against an established, (physically superior) across town team was an incredible experience.

For the last half of the game, we decided to do away with the tattered ball we’d been using and introduce one of the new soccer balls from Charity Ball. At this point of the game GLP was tied with Namasale Central 1-1. As if our own Charity Ball brought us good luck, our team scored two consecutive goals and won our very first soccer game against another school. After the final whistle, our entire staff — Ugandan AND American — stormed the field, hugging our students and screaming victory songs in the local language.

JaymeWard

By: Jayme Ward, Co-Founder & Executive Director of Far Away Friends, Inc.

Huge props to Jayme Ward and her staff & volunteers at Far Away Friends. Thanks for the empowering work that you’re doing for kids in Uganda. We’re so glad that the Charity Balls that you delivered were not only meaningful to the kids, but also a significant asset to your ongoing efforts.

Closer to Their Dreams in Havana, Cuba

By | Ball Deliveries

In 2016, travel restrictions from the USA to Cuba were historically lifted, making it possible for Americans to visit. Wanting to make the most of this historic opportunity, Charity Ball courier, Ginger Lu, booked a flight and set out to make the world a little more beautiful for kids on the island nation.

Ginger Lu

By: Ginger Lu.
Ginger is a freelance writer located in Chicago, IL.

Walking through the streets of Old Havana, the first thing that caught my eye were the rows and rows of colorful, but decrepit houses, and then the sounds of street vendors selling their batido de mamey or guarapo, drinks made from sugarcane and guava fruits. I rounded one corner and found myself in an old abandoned parking lot, which graffiti artists had turned into a place where children come to play sports. Even on a hot summer day, there were many children of all ages playing a pick-up game of soccer with a ball made of newspaper and crushed soda cans tied up with a piece of twine.

I approached one of the youths, Carolos, an aspiring professional soccer player at eight years old who was watching his older brother Jaime play a game with his friends. He told me that they came to the park to play every day after school. The rising popularity of the sport in recent years can be explained by increased access native Cubans have with the rest of the world.  Both children and adults can be seen playing pickup games on empty alleys and streets, making do with what little they have. Soccer fever has caught and spread with the young men of the island nation. However, soccer balls are still hard to come by for the majority of players. Apart from government and military officials, the majority of the citizens of Cuba make salaries that equal our $20 a week. Carlos said that on some days, they would have a ball to play with. More often than not, they would have to wait at least an hour until one of the lucky kids that owned a ball arrived so that they could start a game. I put one of Charity Ball’s new soccer balls in his hands and told him,”para ti, de tus amigos en los Estados Unidos.” For you, from your friends in the United States. He shouted with joy and ran off to show his brother and their friends. Within seconds, I was surrounded by happy kids hoping to get their hands on one of these prized possessions as well.

Children in the United States take these simple moments for granted, but for a child growing up in poverty, these moments mean more to them than words can explain. Jaime told me that they keep up with their favorite players, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, and aspire to be like them one day. Having the necessary equipment to practice will help them get one step closer to their dreams. With increased travel to Cuba opening up from the United States, we can begin to make more of a difference as time goes on to positively impact futures for hundreds of children.

Soccer Love: Mozambique Ball Deliveries

By | Ball Deliveries

This past week my dad and his team partnered up with Drop4Drop from the UK and began a 30 well restoration project in Northern Mozambique.

They also brought along some soccer balls and were able to surprise a few kids.

Just wanted to say a quick thanks to all of you for your ongoing support and helping spread the soccer love one ball at a time.

Ethan King

By: Ethan King, Team Charity Ball

Hope Rising in Kenya

By | Ball Deliveries

Over the holidays, Margaret Mongare, a student at Stanford University, delivered soccer balls on behalf of Charity Ball to the Hope Raisers Football Association at the Baba Dogo primary school in Nairobi, Kenya. The school provides free primary level education to children from the slum neighborhoods that encompass the school. Most individuals living there earn less than a dollar a day; gangs and drugs are prevalent due to a lack of proper peer support and mentorship. The school has a football field where students practice soccer.

Margaret said, “Meeting the kids was amazing and it reminded me how we should never take for granted mentoring kids growing up in poverty. An interaction can inspire someone, and a piece of advice can light up their path.” She went on to say, “We can forget that we still have a lot to offer others in terms of our time and intellectual resource,”  and that it’s the people who work hard and who live with courage and hope that really do change the world. We couldn’t agree more!

Margaret has worked with this community for the past 6 years and hopes that the new Charity Balls can contribute towards making the world a better place for the kids in the area.

Charity Ball sends it special thanks to Margaret for her outstanding work and contribution. Because of her efforts, children in poverty now have a reason to dream big.

Giving Back: 500 Soccer Balls to Kids in Brazil

By | Ball Deliveries, Uncategorized

Two weeks ago I hopped a plane and flew to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, one of the recent host cities for the 2014 World Cup. Without a doubt, Rio is one of the coolest cities I’ve ever visited. The style, the people, the vibe, the love of soccer/football – it’s all amazing. So much of the culture resonates with who I am as a person. I hope to get back there in the near future for an extended period of time to explore and learn more about the Brazilian way of life.

I learned that there two stereotypical perceptions of Rio; a exotic beach-city, or an illegitimate slum city. A majority of the people who live in the favelas are operating below the national poverty line and make less than $2,000 a year. While there definitely is a discrepancy between the metropolitan city, right off Copacabana beach, and the favelas on the outskirts, the truth is they’re both full of beautiful people who all have the same love & passion for the Beautiful Game.
favelas

Shortly after arriving we met up with our film crew. Brian Sewell was the production manager and a really great guy to work with. We loaded up a few vans and headed to the famous Salaron Steps to take some photos and shoot some B-roll for a video that will be released by Johnson & Johnson very soon. My bro, Jade, and I juggled and passed the ball around on top of the steps while the crew grabbed some footage. The steps were super-cool and a neat little enclave in the maze of city streets.
E&JadeRioSteps

After finishing up at the steps, we traveled to a small bay area across from Sugar Loaf Mountain. This is one of the well-known landmarks in Rio. We shot some more footage and then headed over to Copacabana beach. Copacabana is awesome. It’s lined with sand soccer fields as far as the eye can see, as well as soccer-volleyball nets. I remember seeing glimpses of it on TV during the World Cup. We shot a few more scenes and called it a day.
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The next morning was the main event. We got up early and headed to the center of the city. Charity Ball, Johnson & Johnson and Saúde Criança, (a local NGO that helps families break the cycle of poverty) hosted a special event for kids where we hand-delivered new Charity Balls. 500 kids who live in favelas received their own new soccer ball. I was really impressed with the collaboration and how the event was organized. It was excellent.
Saúde-Criança

However, the best part was meeting the kids and seeing the anticipation on their faces as they arrived and waited to receive their new ball. The event was sweet. There was music, laughter, games, celebration, and I even got to dance with some of the Brazilian teenage girls. Not too bad.

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The event wrapped up around 3pm and we headed over to see the Christ The Redeemer Statue. Apart from delivering the soccer balls to the kids, this had to be one of the coolest moments of the trip. Looking out across the skyline, seeing the city, the beach, the favelas, and the Maracana World Cup stadium was fantastic.

The real eye-opener came on the final day. We were able to connect with a guy by the name of Zezinho who actually lives in Rocinha, the largest mountain-side favela in Rio. Racinha_CharityBall

We all jumped on a bus and headed to the top. This time we chose a different tactic for hand-delivering balls. Zezinho knows a lot of the kids in Rocinha and helped us identify which ones would truly benefit from a gift like this. The first boy we gave a ball to couldn’t believe it. His name was Felipe. When I asked him if he wanted a new soccer ball, I could tell he didn’t think I was serious. I smiled, reached inside my case and grabbed a new Adidas soccer ball. As I began to inflate it, his face lit up with excitement. When I had finished and handed him the ball, his jaw dropped to the ground. He kept saying thank you over and over. I was personally moved by how grateful he was. It’s one of the moments where the power of generosity effects the person giving as much as the person who is receiving.
RacinaFootsal2
Happy_BoyRIO

We hand-delivered 27 balls that day. 527 in all.

Special thanks to: Katie Couric, Johnson & Johnson, Alex Holland, Kelly Planer, Brian Walker, our friends at Saúde Criança, Wade Berger, Zezinho and The Dress Code Family in New York.

The Huffington Post invited me to write a an article about “What I learned about Love through Giving.” You can catch it here.