What we do:
Around the Worlds, Around the World teaches the game of soccer to underprivileged children from underserved communities worldwide. We provide soccer workshops free-of-charge for kids from circumstances, varying in degrees of extremity. Each workshop concludes with a gift of soccer balls and other miscellaneous soccer equipment to the group we work with, so that they can continue to learn and grow in the game long after our presence is no longer there, nor needed.
The game of soccer has always had this incredible power to transcend boundaries in race, gender, religion, and even socio-economic status. In essence, that’s what makes it the perfect platform to affect change where change is needed. Soccer can be seen as an escape for children who have endured such struggle at such a young age, and for some, it can even represent an opportunity to break away from the perils of poverty. When connecting these kids to the sport, it is never truly known what the final outcome may be, but we can only hope that their lives have been changed just as much as ours have.
A word from our founder, Stephen Schirra:
Growing up, I always wanted to do something to make a difference in the world. I remember drawing out these intricate visions I had for myself back when applying to colleges, describing how I wanted to provide clean drinking water to poverty-stricken communities as I pursued a degree in engineering. I just never knew that I would end up using a passion of mine, a sport that I hold so near and dear to my heart, to lift others up all over the world. Over the past few months alone, I’ve been exposed to immense poverty and struggle. I’ve seen what real sadness looks like, but I’ve also been witness to pure elation, too. At the end of the day, all I want to do is inspire those around me. Not just to inspire the kids I work with, but also to inspire others who see the work I do that they might use whatever makes them happiest, in order to spread happiness to others.
Although much of our work is done internationally, I’ve seen poverty in our own communities here in the US, even as close as our own backyards. Often, these issues go unnoticed, especially when placing a heavy focus on underdeveloped communities abroad. However, I never wanted to forget about the multitude of need that exists here in our own country. As a result, we’ve been fortunate enough to run domestic clinics for underprivileged children coming from youth shelters and refugee foundations. This was something that I had always wanted to do after using soccer to work with the Special Olympics and inner-city schools during college, experiences that I’ve always been appreciative of. Additionally, plans are underway for programs in conjunction with the Boys and Girls Club of America, and should be taking place later on this summer.
I’m incredibly thankful for the support of my own little community during the past few months. We’ve been able to run a few collection drives for soccer balls, at local churches, libraries, and other establishments. These collection drives, while being incredibly successful, have also given the people of the community a chance to get involved in something far bigger than just themselves. My hope is that I can instill in the children the importance, and really just the necessity of giving back to others who have so little. If I can encourage that, in the same community that once taught me those very same lessons, I can feel like I’ve made a positive impact. Thank you all so very much, for everything you’ve done and continue to do.
Stephen Schirra, Founder