Tag: sports

Feb 24 2018

What sport has taught me about resiliency

It’s been my lifelong desire to learn a martial art and to master a self-defense practice so I can walk through this world confident, respectful and aware of how I can control my actions.

There exists a resiliency that I believe sports can teach us.

My intent in enrolling my son and me in karate was to help my son hone his voice and body. I also don’t want him to allow shyness to negatively influence his life choices and potential success, as I did.

In class, as in many places of the world, there are boys and girls we’ve seen as examples. A 4-year-old girl helped me find my voice and I now have louder “kiais” (shouts). A young woman has shown me how to teach by the way she celebrates our efforts, yet she also expects more next class.

Sports plays an important role for many in the Unbound community. I enjoyed reading the story of now 13-year-old sponsored child James and his father, from Kenya, who worked to overcome financial and other challenges as James pursued his speed skating dreams.
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More than 1,500 sponsored children and youth participated in the 2015 Bob Hentzen Memorial Sports Day organized by Unbound staff in Hyderabad, India.
Apr 13 2015

The joy of 1,500 sponsored kids in India at play

Children and teenagers living in poverty don’t often get the chance to participate in organized sports. Participation fees and equipment costs add up, making sports a low priority for families struggling to afford basic necessities. So when Unbound staff in Hyderabad, India, organized the Bob Hentzen Memorial Sports Day, more than 1,500 kids sponsored through Unbound showed up for the event.

For Sarita Mendanha, program coordinator for Unbound in Hyderabad, the sports day is “extremely important to the India program because it builds team spirit, … [a] winning attitude [and] pride to carry away specially designed awards.” She also views the sports day as a way to build rapport between Unbound staff and the families they serve.

The day consisted of 15 different track and field events, such as tug of war, sack races, the traditional Indian game kho kho, shot put, discus throw and 100, 200, 400 and 800 meter dashes. Unbound staff had help from scholars and the participants’ mothers, and sports professionals were on hand to referee.

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Sep 26 2014

A champion rises above health obstacle


Juan Jose practices regularly to improve his swimming.

Juan Jose is your typical 13-year-old. He lives with his mom and grandmother in Antioquia, Colombia. He attends school, loves hanging out with his friends and has dreams of becoming a famous Olympian.

But Juan Jose has a little secret.

He only has one kidney. It keeps him from playing contact sports, like football, basketball and soccer, with his friends.
Instead of letting this hold him back, he channels his energy and efforts into swimming.

“I love to swim now!” he said. “I like swimming because we get resistance and we work out with all the muscles. I feel that I am free, and I have discovered that I am a good and fast swimmer.”

Through his chosen sport, Juan Jose has overcome other medical problems.

“I have asthma but I do not give up when I have competitions and I continue until I finish. I always want to be the best despite my health limitations,” he answered when asked about any obstacles in his life.

Even though training is from 6 am to 8:30 am, Juan Jose still said, “I enjoy training because it has helped me to get my health problems under control.”

Though he is a shy boy, his grandmother remarked that he is “disciplined and a fighter for his dream [of reaching the Olympics] and does not care about his health limitations.” Like most grandmothers, she is incredibly proud of him and his accomplishments.

With his most memorable moment listed as signing up for a swimming league, Juan Jose has even bigger dreams for the future. He hopes to “have the chance to represent my town in other cities. Maybe someday I will have the chance to participate in the Olympic Games to represent my country.”

We here at Unbound will be rooting for you, Juan Jose!

Contributions to Health help support many services, including therapeutic services for sponsored friends with special needs. Donate today!

Unbound trailblazers
May 19 2014

Blazing trails for good cause

Unbound editor Loretta Kline and her husband, Robert, train together for Kansas City's Hospital Hill Run.

Unbound editor Loretta Kline and her husband, Robert, train together for Kansas City’s Hospital Hill Run.

By Loretta Kline, editor at Unbound

I ran track in high school and participated in road races. I hadn’t run in organized events for years when my daughters asked my husband and me to participate in a run on Thanksgiving Day. We ran as a family, survived it all and had fun in the process.

So when the Unbound Trailblazers were formed, I thought it was good motivation to get in better shape and help raise awareness of our organization at the same time. My husband and I started training for the Hospital Hill Run in Kansas City by running and walking 2‐4 miles several times a week.

We’re looking forward to joining the other Trailblazers June 6 on the road to physical fitness and helping a good cause.

Find out how you can join the fun and become an Unbound Trailblazer.

Sponsor a youth
Aug 16 2013

Sponsored youth: ‘CFCA has given me more than an education’

How many students does it take to create a youth forum in India designed to help young people continue their higher education?

Read more to find out!

Oct 28 2009

Baseball: not just an American sport

Baseball is America’s favorite pastime, as the saying goes. And tonight with game 1 of the World Series, which pits the New York Yankees against the Philadelphia Phillies, fans and teams alike will wind up for a nearly a week and a half of baseball mania. We wanted to know what another baseball-crazed nation, the Dominican Republic, thinks of the sport, so we asked Nelson Figueroa, Santo Domingo project coordinator, to weigh in on the topic.

Nelson FigueroaBaseball in the Dominican Republic is considered a national entertainment. This is the sport that gathers all levels of society. Pretty much life in the DR flows around baseball and the teams of the Dominican Baseball League. As a matter of fact, we have a saying here. Dominicans talk about two things: the ìballitic,î or baseball and politics.

The children generally like to wear the colors of their favorite team. There is no place in which people donít talk about who is or isnít the best player. Baseball makes the front page of the newspaper all the time. Even politicians use baseball terms in their political material.

Everyday language uses baseball terms. For example, when a person does something illegal, people say, ìHe/she batted a foul.î In contrast, when a person does something really good people say, ìHe/she hit a home run through the 411.î The number ì411î is the measurement through the center field of the largest stadium in the country.

It starts early
SamuelIn general, the life of Dominicans flows around this sport, and children start playing it at a young age.

We could probably say that children start playing at about age five, but they begin learning the basics when they take their first steps. In fact, one of their very first gifts is a plastic baseball bat and ball. Children play in parks, streets, their backyards and on organized leagues.

The organized league starts with the mini league at age 5 to 7. The organized leagues are for boys only. Girls usually play informally.

Improvising the equipment
Children usually play baseball in the streets. They use juice or milk cartons as mitts by flattening them and making a horizontal opening for the finger, similar to regular baseball mitts. Baseball bats are made with broomsticks or a piece of wood carved to the shape of a bat.

Many times the balls are rubber balls sold locally, but most of the time they are made by wrapping a small rock with paper and holding it with tape. Once that is done, they put the ball inside of a sock to form the ball.
Children use anything available for the bases: electric posts, trash, rocks, whatever wonít blow away. Sometimes they paint bases on the floor with paint or charcoal.

A famous legacy
The most popular baseball player in the Dominican Republic is Juan Marichal, the only Dominican player in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in the U.S.

The Professional Baseball League of the Dominican Republic is the major league, and the season starts in October. Most Dominican baseball players in the U.S. come from this league. At the same time, players from other countries are brought here as support.

For some time, the town of San Pedro de Macoris turned out many professional baseball players. I donít know the reason why so many baseball players came from this town. Nowadays, there are players from all over the countryófamous players such as Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero, Albert Pujols, Miguel Tejada, Placido Polanco, Alex RodrÌguez, JosÈ Reyes, Omar Minaya (general manager for the New York Mets), Robinson Cano, and others.

Of course, one of the dreams of our boys and their families is for them to become a professional baseball player. It is a way out of poverty

CFCAís Santo Domingo project does not usually organize baseball games as recreation because children usually play it in their own communities.

Check back tomorrow to read an interview between Nelson and Samuel, a 17-year-old sponsored youth from Santo Domingo.

Jul 16 2009

Serious fun: part 4

By Kelly Demo, CFCA preacher

Soccer has grown from an obscure game played by a handful of kids to being the most popular, organized sport for children in the U.S. With more than 3 million youth registered each year in formal leagues, soccer has firmly established itself as part of the American childhood.

Without knowing it, kids who play soccer here in the U.S. are aligning themselves with the millions, perhaps billions, of children worldwide who play soccer (more commonly known as ìfootballî). However, these kids in developing countries donít always experience soccer with minivans, uniforms, coaches and juice boxes waiting for them when they are done. These are the kids who find any round object and a group of friends and play wherever they can find an open space. They run barefoot, kicking the ball through a goal they have fashioned out of scrap metal or their imaginations.

Henry Flores, director of the CFCA Communications Center in El Salvador, says that CFCA staff will often organize soccer games with the scholarship students because they find this to be a great way for staff to connect with the youth.

ìWith these games we are telling the students, ëWe want to spend time with you!í î Henry also observes that soccer is only fun when you play with others. It is a community sport. It unifies responsibility, ability and discipline.

Marissa Gargaro plays soccer during a mission awareness trip to El Salvador.“Plus, you donít need lots of equipment, just a 25-cent ball and a small space in your community. You often see children in the different communities who spend hours playing street soccer. When a vehicle is passing trough you hear, ëGAME OFF / GAME ON!í to let the children know.”

Often, when there have been teen mission awareness trip groups, the staff will organize soccer games because it is a simple way to break the ice, create community and strengthen bonds of friendship. “And,” says Henry, “You need no translator for it.”

In your next letter, have your soccer kid ask their sponsored friend about “football” in their country. Do they enjoy playing? Does their country have a national soccer team? Talk with them about the idea that they are in solidarity with their friend simply by playing soccer. What similarities does your child see in the way their friend plays football, and how soccer is experienced here in the States? What are the differences?

Related links
Serious fun, part 1
Serious fun, part 2
Serious fun: Creative play