On Tuesday, June 26th, a group of volunteers from adidas’ office of Global Basketball in Portland visited Chicago, Illinois, to share their passion for sport with PeacePlayers International and Beyond the Ball, one of PPI’s major partners in Chicago.
The volunteers took part in “Project Play,” a weekly summertime event in Beyond the Ball’s Chicago neighborhood of Little Village, which brings together children and families to take ownership of their community through the power of play. Led by Lawrence Norman, VP of Global Basketball and a PPI Board Member, the volunteers dived right into their duties, which included everything from face-painting to fielding a side on the soccer field. They played “Switch,” a school-yard game that mixes running with “Rock-Paper-Scissors,” and even helped out at a “Make Your Own Sneaker” arts and crafts station. Not surprisingly, they also found time to hit the court and shoot some hoops.
Project Play earned Beyond the Ball the “Most Courageous Use of Sport Award” at the 2010 Beyond Sport Awards. As Amy Castaneda, part of the husband-wife team behind Beyond the Ball, explains in the video below from 2009, back then Project Play had 200 weekly participants. They now have 600. And Michel, the young soccer player who appears in the video? He now supervises a team of young leaders who make Project Play happen each week.
adidas is currently supporting a partnership between PPI and Beyond the Ball, in which the two organizations are working together to share best practices and adapt some of PeacePlayers’ methods for promoting peace to the Chicago context, where homicides have increased 37 percent so far this year in comparison with the same period last year, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Adds Brendan Tuohey, PPI’s co-founder and Executive Director, “We have tremendous respect for the work of Beyond and the Ball, and are grateful to adidas for giving us this opportunity to build a global network of organizations using sport to transform their communities. The belief of adidas’ team in the transformative power of sport became apparent as soon as the event began, and we hope this will be the first of many such events.”