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My favorite Christmas gift… soccer balls

Photo: ©2012 Gary Dowd for World Vision

Photo: ©2012 Gary Dowd for World Vision

Our “My Favorite Christmas Gift…” series continues as World Vision staff, partners and friends share stories around World Vision’s Gift Catalog.

Today we bring you a story from Renee’ Stearns, who has seen soccer played both in the United States and across the world.

For more years than I care to admit, I was a soccer mom. With five children playing on five different teams, it was easy to know where to find me on Saturday morning. Rain or shine (and in Seattle, it was mostly rain!) Rich and I were standing on the sidelines of one of our children’s games. And while not all of the teams played equally well, all of them looked very professional-matching team shirts and shorts, brand new ball emblazoned with a swish.

The scene was quite different as I watched a group of boys playing soccer at a pick-up game in Malawi. The pitch was an unlined dirt field, and shoeless teammates passed and kicked and headed something that more resembled a bundle of wadded up plastic grocery bags than a regulation soccer ball.

Down the road, we watched another soccer match, this one at an Area Development Project in Senzani. As the teams broke for half-time, the players participated in a series of skits and songs and presentations on the topic of HIV and AIDS. World Vision staff members were using what was a natural part of community life to communicate some important information not only to the players but also to the adults who had gathered to watch them. It seems that a local soccer game can be much more than just a chance for a bunch of kids to burn off some energy and have a lot of fun, it’s also a way to provide some lifesaving knowledge in a positive, upbeat environment. So when, through the World Vision Gift Catalog, you give soccer balls to a school, know that you are making a bigger difference than you think!

Give the gift of a soccer ball today!

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