Philly group again donates soccer gear

Members of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Organization of Pennsylvania (SVGOP), from left, James Cordice, Emille Williams, Dr. Erica Belton Williams and Rohan Pierre, sort soccer equipment for shipment to SVG.
Photo courtesy SVGOP
Photo courtesy of SVGOP

The Philadelphia-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organization of Pennsylvania (SVGOP) says it is dispatching soccer gears to the youth at home for the second successive year.

James Cordice, the group’s public relations officer, told Caribbean Life, in an exclusive interview, that the donation was coordinated by Kate Butler, members of the Chestnut Hill Youth Sports Club in Philadelphia, Germantown Friends School and soccer coach David Bushnell.

He said donation comprised 60 soccer balls, three air pumps, 50 pairs of soccer cleats, 20 pairs of socks, 18 pairs of shin guards and multiple sets of uniforms.

“It is fitting to say that we, as a group, have championed many causes over the years,” said Cordice, the group’s former president.

“However, this idea of using sports as a vehicle for the academic enhancement of the youth of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is already working,” he said, alluding to last year’s historic participation of the Thomas Saunders Secondary School in the prestigious Penn Relays in Philadelphia.

The school, which last year fielded a boys’ team at the games, will this year compete in male and female events.

In February last year, SVGOP’s Education Committee chair, Emile Williams, was instrumental in collecting and shipping soccer gear, for the first time, to the youth at home.

“There is definitely a need, and we are to oblige (to help),” he said. “This means so very much to the children of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

The equipment was handed over by the group’s local liaison, Joslyn Matthias, to Ian Sardine of the local football federation’s youth development program. Cordice said 22 teams benefited from last year’s donation.

Rohan Pierre, a SVGOP’s executive officer, said despite having two small children “to provide for,” he always finds time to volunteer “in aiding the children of the Caribbean, especially St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“I also wish that more Vincentians will give back, in one way or another,” he said.

Cordice said his parents inspired him to give back to the community.

“My parents taught me to be inspirational – that cannot be done from the sidelines,” he said.

“I do the best that I can each day, and I sleep well at nights,” he added. “I find peace, strength and fulfillment in helping others to grow.”

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