Before the League games and Twinning program begin, PeacePlayers Middle East devotes their time to expanding its community by recruiting new participants. This September, we visited multiple Jewish and Palestinian communities in the Jerusalem area in attempts to recruit youth into the PPI family!
Whether it was the Kiryat Anavim school, Ein Rafa school, or Keshet School, the young kids that were coming out to play were very thrilled and very engaged in the activities. At each school recruitment trip, the PeacePlayers staff started out by introducing themselves, sharing a little bit about what PPI – ME is all about, and invited the youth to come play basketball during their break.
During the break, the staff ran typical practice drills including knock out, touch down, and layup games. Duha, a current coach and a graduate of the Leadership Development Program, said “Most of the students that come out really enjoy the activities. We love and enjoy coaching them.”
This year PeacePlayers began its typical recruiting schedule after the region went through a very difficult time. This made the continuation of the coexistent work done at PeacePlayers even more important. Instead of teaching to fear the unknown, PeacePlayers is granting youth the opportunity to have real face-to-face experiences with members from the “other side” through basketball.
Duha was pleasantly surprised to see all of the kids coming out and playing, especially because of last summer’s events. “ The kids were curious to know what we will be doing during this year,” said Duha. For many of the youth joining PeacePlayers, this will be their first meaningful experience with youth from the other side of the conflict. PeacePlayers-Middle East aims to bridge two divided communities, Palestinian and Israeli, in hopes of changing perceptions, building leaders, and breaking down the walls of fear and hatred.