|September 22, 2007
Dear Colleagues, Family, Friends, and Supporters of SWC:
On August 14, 1997, the Sports for the World's Children Foundation became an "official" California 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit corporation. As of today, a little more than 10 years later, we have delivered tens of thousands of pounds of sports equipment to over 13,800 children in Mexico, Nicaragua, and the United States... and we are looking forward to adding countries in Africa to the list very soon.
During the past 10 years, I have never once doubted the value that participating in sports can provide to our world's youth. Even with all the negative press in recent years about the "misguided" actions of some of our athlete/sports stars, once heroes to our impressionable youth, and violence on youth baseball, football, and soccer fields across the United States, we can instead focus on the positive: In 2008, the Games of the XXIX Olympiad will take place in Beijing, China. During the past 10 years, more than 28,000 athletes from 201 nations have participated in sporting events in front of a billion spectators and televison viewers all over the world. These are truly amazing numbers, and testament to how sports can help bridge cultural and ethnic divides. (Did you know that the United Nations doesn't have as many Member States that participate in the World Summit as nations participating in the Olympics?)
According to the Olympic Charter, the goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practised without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. "More than ever, sports is a universal language and plays the role of catalyst in today's society as a means of improving quality of life and well-being." Jacques Rogge, International Olympic Committee President
We at SWC may not be Olympians, but we have truly embraced the spiprit of the Olympic Movement. We are everyday athletes, and our volunteers are everyday heroes, who know how our personal participation in sports has changed our lives for the better, who have access to equipment and other resources, and who want to return that gift to children less fortunate. And beyond just sharing the "gift of play" with others, I am proudest to say that through our "Communities Play Program" abroad, we have been able to 1) build support, accountability, and program sustainability in the communities where we've worked, and 2) provide all those involved with a rich, cultural exchange experience that is oftentimes life changing.
As we celebrate this anniversary milestone and look forward to the future, I would like to extend my deepest and heartfelt appreciation to everyone who has ever:
* Collected, donated, picked up, stored, inventoried, and/or organized sports equipment
* Donated money to help transport, store, and deliver equipment
* Deflated a ball for more economical transport
* Transported and delivered equipment to children in Mexico, Nicaragua, and/or the U.S.
* Taught a child how to bat / catch / throw / dribble / set
* Folded, labeled, and/or stamped an SWC brochure, mailing, or newsletter
* Participated in a fundraising dinner, golf or softball tournament, or bought a T-shirt
* Taken and sent us photos of fundraising events or volunteer trips
* Served on the Board of Directors
* Offered an encouraging word
* Spread the word about SWC to others...
It truly has taken a community to accomplish all tha twe have, and we look forward to growing that community and continuing our mission of "giving the gift of play" for many more years. Thank you for attending our event this evening, and being a part of our community of donors and supporters who have helped make the last 10 years so truly incredible, and most importantly... possible.
As always, in the spirit of sharing and teamwork,
Kim Ina, Founder & Executive Director