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News Article

Coach Kacie Wilkinson Organizes Ball Drive for Uganda with Much Success!
From Coach Kacie Wilkinson:
In the fall of 2013, my amazing friends, Scott and Meg Panella (and their sons Bennett & Dominic), traveled to Uganda to complete the very long process of adopting two young orphans from the Arise and Shine Orphanage located outside of Kampala, Uganda.  Since returning with Job (age 7) and Innis (now 3), I have been touched by the stories the family has shared about their time with the children of Arise and Shine.  Very recently, I learned that Scott was returning to Uganda to continue his efforts with his new charity, Give-a-Goat, which provides milking and local meat goats to various East African malnutrition clinics, orphanages, and generally underprivileged areas, like where Job and Innis called home.  As a coach, I recognized the unique opportunity to teach my U9 team a lesson larger than 1v1 moves and "using their laces."  
 
Now, you can imagine the difficulty the Panellas have had in communicating with their sons and others during their adoption process... but soccer is universal (and so is love!).  My thought was, the U9's could share smiles and fun with the kids of Uganda.  These kids are in desperate need of everything: food, clothing, shelter, vaccinations, etc.  So, I hastily organized a soccer ball drive.  Although we only had about twenty days until Scott would depart on his journey to Kampala, Uganda, I relayed the Panella story to my team and challenged them to donate their gently used and/or new soccer balls for the kids.  This wasn't a competition or mission to break any records -- I wanted to teach that even the smallest differences can be the most fulfilling.  And my girls RESPONDED!!  In just a short time, we were able to send two large duffles with about 30 soccer balls with Scott on his trip.  That's three balls per player... it may not sound like a lot... but then we received the pictures from Scott and we can all agree: IT WAS HUGE!!
 
                
 
When I think about it, I don't know whose faces were brighter: those receiving the balls (as indicated by the awesome pics Scott shared with us) or my girls' when they would bring me their donation.  Honestly.  I am so proud of my girls for their effort and also of their appreciation of our mission.  It's important for me, and probably every coach, to tell our kids at the end of each training session or game--win or lose--"hey, we got better today."  But, really, for me, its more important that I can say to these girls, "hey, we did GOOD today - we made a difference."  It's not about what you've done; it's about what you can do.
 
For more information on how you can help Arise and Shine, please visithttp://www.ariseandshineug.blogspot.com/.  For more information on how you can help Give-a-Goat, Louisville, check out http://www.giveagoat.com./