A senior student at the Quigley Catholic High in Baden (PA), Caitlan Carney, has high hopes that her school service project primarily involving used youth soccer uniform and equipment will make a big difference among the needy kids in Haiti. Carney has been involved in similar undertakings since she was a fourth grader, and the idea on how to assist the Haitian youth came nearly as second nature to her. It also helped a lot that she was co-captain of Quigley girls’ soccer team and that her teammates were as enthusiastic on the project.
The eighteen-year-old Carney organized a collection drive on new and slightly used uniforms and equipment among her teammates on the Quigley girls’ soccer team. Her efforts bore fruit in an assortment of balls, shirts, shin guards, and soccer training paraphernalia worth over $1,000. These items were donated to GOALS (Global Outreach and Love of Soccer) Haiti, a non-profit organization that uses soccer as a medium to reach out to children in Leogane, Haiti. Through soccer, GOALS is able to extend not only education but also awareness about community service, health, and similar values to the children in Leogane and its surrounding areas. Notably, Leogane was at the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake that ruined much of Haiti. Every month, GOALS, which is based in Sarasota, Florida, extends its services to more than 600 children.
Carney picked up on the activities of GOALS from the Internet. She was very pleased with her efforts which turned out to be her first international undertaking. What she really wanted for a school project was something that has to do with youth soccer and helping children. “Organizing it was a lot of hard work,” she said, “but worth the effort.”
What Carney accomplished was outstanding, according to Jolinda Hackett, GOALS program officer. It is rare for high school students to send them donations, she said. Most come from Boy and Girl Scouts and groups affiliated with universities, colleges, or the military, the GOALS officer added. Without having to buy soccer uniform, she said, her organization can reach even more children and families because of Carney’s donation. Patty Miller, who is in charge of Quigley Catholic High’s girls’ soccer coaching, gave credit to Carney for developing the idea. Some of the girls in the team, she said, were into soccer since they were four years of age, accumulating in the process a sizable collection of reusable team soccer uniforms and equipment.