When kids are inspired to do something kind, we must amplify their voices. The Schlafman girls (Haley, Riley, and Lily) of New Canaan, Connecticut – impassioned by their love of soccer and giving back – are putting together an on-going cleat/soccer ball drive this spring season, summer, and fall for African youths living in Eritrea. Inspired by their mom’s college soccer coach Berhane Anderberhan, from Cornell University, who lived in Africa, they felt driven to host their own drive for fellow kids/teens who play soccer in Asmara, Eritrea after finding out soccer balls are a prized, expensive possession in Eritrea, and that most kids play in flimsy sandals. Prior drives collected bags of deeply appreciate deflated soccer balls and cleats for “kids our age who all have a passion for Eritrea (more specifically in the city of Asmara).”
WHAT: New or used cleats that are in good used condition (Sizes 3-8) and deflated (or we will deflate for travel and shipping purposes) new or used soccer balls in good condition (sizes 4 and 5).The balls do not have to be expensive ($10-$20). If you don’t have any of the above, or don’t live in the area – you can support by Venmo’ing @Julie-Schlafman with a label “Soccer Balls And Cleats For Eritrea.” You can donate in person (if in the New Canaan area) OR support by donating cash towards balls and equipment! Even sharing this post spreads the word and accelerates this mitzvah!
WHERE: The girls will be decorating boxes that will be placed at the New Canaan soccer fields locations on soccer weekends. They will be maintaining and collecting items on a consistent basis. They would also would be happy to pick up in the area if you email their Mom Julie. You can also ship to Julie if you email her for her address.
WHEN: Collection will begin this 2021 spring, summer and fall seasons. Berhane hopes to travel to Africa late summer/early fall with the equipment.
WHY: “The young athletes in Eritrea are not as fortunate as we are, and oftentimes will play soccer in sandals or barefoot (see pictures of the sandals below). They also only have 10 balls for every 200 kids. Many of these kids are very talented and deserve to have better equipment to be competitive in the game of soccer/football. Currently, there are 600 youths in three locations throughout Asmara that we could help provide this equipment for. This drive is really going to help the soccer program there and encourage more kids to play this loved sport.”
HOW: The girls will also will be holding fundraisers through lemonade stands and bake sales etc., to help raise money for shipping costs – additional equipment will travel with Berhane.
The girls goal is to have players in town (and beyond) donate as many cleats and soccer balls as possible. They say; “If every one of our friends and players could contribute a soccer ball and a pair of cleats think about what we could achieve.”
Indeed! What a beautiful representation of thinking globally.
“If not us, who? If not now, when?” Hillel