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I am a huge fan of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I travel there frequently on vacation.
On one of my trips to St. John, I noticed that about 7 kids were all playing with a (one) flat, worn out soccer ball and having the best time!.
Right then I had two thoughts:
1) How great it is that these kids can have so much fun kicking a worn out, flat soccer ball!
2) Hey wait...is this the only soccer ball that they had? Where were the others?
It put an idea into my head that since I work at Nike, I could use Nike as a resource to help the kids achieve some athletic goals, thereby giving them courage and enough confidence to achieve other lifetime goals.
This is a long term goal of mine which I have placed in writing on my CFE. A CFE is a road map that measures my individual output, keeping me inline with my work goals and personal goals. I am now listing this as a life long goal. My intention is to develop and assist with sports and fitness programs within local schools and the community. This plan will involve local schools, businesses, charitable organizations, Nike vendors and of course, Nike.
Please let me know to what capacity, if any, you would be willing to help with. If you feel that there is someone else I should contact, please email me that information as well, or have them get in touch with me
Thank you very much for your time everyone.
Using Sports for Social Change (USFSC), in its 8th year in the USVI, was formed because the voices of our youth need to be heard. USFSC is an idea by Dean Doeling, a Senior Production Artist for the Nike Corporation.
Dean, during his early visits to St. John noticed the conditions of recreational facilities and the lack of programs for youth and decided to do something about it. Dean envisioned a group of concerned St. John residents working toward a common goal-to use sports to affect social change.
Over the past eight years, Dean has sent over 1000 basketballs, footballs and Soccer balls to St. John-all donated. The equipment was distributed to the various schools and to Parks and Recreation. He also donated over 20 new Nike softball mitts to the Ruby Rutnik Softball tournament in 2009. Also, USFSC in conjunction with UMOJA, held a basketball clinic for youth at the Cruz Bay court. Dean sought and found an additional clinic leader through the USFSC website. This two-day event proved to be very popular and more events are planned.
On October 12, 2009 USFSC hosted
the first-ever “Just Play" field day. This all-day event allowed youth from age 2 to 17 to participate in sporting events. Young children ages 2 to 5 had a fully staffed area with games designed just for kids. Our older youths competed, by ages, in competitive field events for prizes. Many local volunteers were on hand as well.
In 2010, USFSC donated 58 pair of new Nike football cleats to the St. John Parks and Recs flag football team and 20 pair of new Nike baseball cleats to the Ruby Rutnik Softball tournament. Also over 30 soccer balls were donated to Gifft Hill School for their soccer program, and numerous balls were donated to Sprauve School for their various athletic activities.
Also in 2010 USFSC sent down new Nike baseball bats to the St. John Parks and Recs Department, along with 12 new Nike footballs and 12 new Nike basketballs being sent to the St. John Community Foundation for distribution to the local schools and the Parks and Recs.
The 2nd and 3rd annual “Just Play Field Day” in October 2010 and 2011 was yet another huge success!
USFSC was a sponsor for the 1st and 2nd Annual Tortola Surf Classic in 2011and 2012 and held an essay contest for youth of the USVI to write about how surfing could improve the lives of Virgin Islanders. Winners were selected to win an all expense paid trip to Tortola with a chaperone of their choosing.
The 4th Just Play day in October of 2012 was another huge success. Having streamlined the process, this all donation and volunteer driven event brought out about 150 youth and 75 volunteers. USFSC also donated over 150 pair of new Nike track shoes to the Ivanna Eudora Keen High School in St. Thomas. Also, 75 backpacks filled with school supplies were donated by Doeling to the Guy Benjamin grade school in Coral Bay, St. John.
In October of 2013 record numbers of attendies, both volunteers and participants enjoyed the 5th annual Just Play event, which had brought with it a new marketing campaign and record numbers. Over 200 children and 75 volunteers enjoyed a free, fun filled day of sports. Also, 150 backpacks filled with school supllies were donated to the 1-6 grade youth of Julius E. Sprauve School in Cruz Bay St. John.
The 6th Annual Just Play event in 2014 was another success! Many new and returning sponsors made this event special for the islands youth. We even had a tropical storm scare, but the storm shifted and passed by the island, making for another successful event!
The 7th annual event was another huge success with many new sponsors and volunteers. The weather was perfect and everyone enjoyed the event!
Planning for the 8th Annual "Just Play!" day is under way and USFSC is in need of volunteers, sponsors, and other equipment to make this free “Just Play” event possible again this year. Of course, donations of money are always welcome and will be used to offset the cost of the “Just Play” event, as well as to continue to uplift and support the current sports programs on island by providing equipment and assistance.