Imagine travelling in a foreign country and seeing dozens of smiling, cheering young faces racing alongside the bus you are riding in? This was one of Amy Gartke’s first experiences in Paraguay and the memory left a lasting impression.
Gartke was a first-year student and women’s soccer player for Trinity Western University and while she had been out of the country on previous occasions, it had always been for a vacation, never for a humanitarian mission.
This trip was a life-altering experience.
“You have a horde of kids running beside the bus, they are just so excited,” she described, her eyes wide with excitement and a smile stretching across her face as she recounted the memory.
That humanitarian trip – which she took alongside many of her Spartans teammates during her freshman year – was just the start. In total, she has been to Paraguay and Peru three times apiece, as well as to Benin and Swaziland once each.
But now the 21-year-olds efforts are focused closer to home.
Gartke is interning this summer at SportAid, a non-profit organization whose aim is to assist local groups and churches have long-term impact in their communities through sport. The group partners with humanitarian organizations and local leaders in Paraguay and Peru to help give underprivileged children the opportunity to stay involved in sport.
Among her duties are serving on the organizing committee for the group’s ALL DAY-ALL PLAY, 24 continuous hours of soccer at Willoughby Community Park.
The game – which will be played six-a-side with multiple matches running simultaneously – was originally set for Friday, July 13 and Saturday, July 14. Organizers reached out Monday to announce the event has been postponed. (Stay tuned for an update on dates).
Participants are welcome to fundraise and donate the proceeds with an added incentive for the team which raises the greatest amount earning themselves a dinner night out.
People can reach out to register by emailing email@example.com.
The money raised will go towards helping kids in Paraguay and Peru who otherwise may not have an opportunity to play organized sport and be a part of a team.