One of the most exciting aspects of being involved in UKSD is the opportunity to participate in a UKSD Social Change Through Soccer Tour. Our Social Change Tours span across United States or designated areas overseas, where we have long lasting relationships with other like-minded soccer organizations.
These trips allow volunteers from various high schools, colleges and universities, similar organizations, and people who simply value the power of sport and giving back to travel to different areas of the world with UKSD lead coaches, in order to work one on one with children in lower socioeconomic areas, as part of the Kidz Play 4 Free Project. Participants who are selected for these trips work cooperatively to fundraise, collect equipment, and plan beforehand. The foundation work is just as important as the trip itself, and we have seen how powerful it is for our youth to take ownership and pride in their own preparation. Then, while on the trips, participants work on service projects, they get to distribute the previously connected donations, they coach and mentor children within these areas, and they get to experience diverse cultures, first hand.
Where We Go
Dominica, West Indies - The island of Dominica is located in the West Indies, more commonly referred to as the Caribbean. Dominica is a small island which is nicknamed “ The Nature Island” for its untouched lands and natural beauty. Although there is a small port for cruises to pass through, visitors are only able to see what is on the surface and outskirts of this place. As you travel deeper into the island, you are able to see, first hand, a lifestyle much different than our own. Due to its location and the threat of severe weather, Dominica has had to withstand some of the most devastating hurricanes and storms throughout the world. Because much of the island lives in an impoverished manner with minimalistic lifestyles, families have been subjected, time and time again, to losing everything. This means sometimes even losing one another. Much of the work we have done in Dominica is to provide athletic equipment, school supplies, household items, and food to people in need. We work with people ranging in age from youth to the elderly and anyone in between. We have made some incredible connections with individuals on the island, who have enabled us to come back, year after year, and strengthen our bond with those we have the honor of working with.
Amman, Jordan - Amman, Jordan is a location in the Middle East which or bordered by Israel and Syria. Due to ongoing war and disputes in these locations, many children are left orphaned and seeking refuge in Amman. We have built connections with locals there who work with the organizations centered around the well-being of these children. Through our work, we have been able to raise equipment, uniforms, donations, and provide completely free of charge soccer training. It is incredible that when a child loses everything, they can still find joy in a game they love. When playing, it is a small piece of their day when they do not have to be afraid for what their life may bring. We hope to continue our work here and give these children a sense of hope and of moving forward. The game of soccer is a tool to help heal their hearts and enable them to push on
Kenya, Africa - Kibera, Africa is located in the country of Kenya, which is on the southeastern border of Africa. Kibera is the largest urban slum in Africa. Residence of Kibera live in extreme poverty and lack items such as electricity, running water, food, health care, and other basic necessities. As a result of this, people are faced with illness and disease, a lack of safety, difficulty accessing education, and so much more. We have partnered with a local organization, The Touch Kibera Foundation ( TKF), which is an organization centered around helping youth through education and sport. This program provides mentorship and guidance for boys and girls, ranging in ages 8-18, in order to help keep them in school, make safe and healthy life choices, and to allow them to pursue their passion in sport. Because these kids are so vulnerable, TKF works with them, one on one, to help them pursue the best paths in their lives. In addition to working with their most vulnerable youth, they have also really focused on helping young women in the quest for gender equity and equal opportunity. This aspect of their programming is growing rapidly, and we are so proud to be part of it. We have partnered with TKF in various ways. Not only do we raise donated items for their participants ranging from school supplies and hygiene products to athletic equipment, but we also travel to their center to work with the kids as well. Furthermore, we work within Kibera to educate their own coaches and mentors, providing tools we have learned which could further their impact on the youth they work with. We believe in the importance of sustainability, and there is not better way to provide that than to share our knowledge so that it can be passed on even after we leave.