By Alicia Dziak

It’s that time of year again when SGI 7th grade students kick it into high gear for their Kids Can Make A Difference (KCMAD) projects. These projects, chosen by the students, are a school year’s worth of research, planning and community service that culminates with a presentation later this spring. Students can work individually or in groups on the projects, but the goal is the same: to make a difference.

Students Grant Karb and Connor Hughey chose to work with One World Play Project, which provides ultra-durable One World Futbols (a.k.a. soccer balls) to youth in disadvantaged communities. The idea behind these special playing balls is that they will not deflate as easily as standard soccer balls, and are made to last on the rough and harsh surfaces many of the children must play on.

“We both like to play soccer, so we started looking around for a project that had something to do with soccer,” explained Grant. “We found this organization while searching online.  When we read about it, it sounded important to help kids in other parts of the world, especially in places where war, disaster or poverty make it difficult to just be a kid and play.”

As far as getting the word out, Connor explained that, “We have spent time on the One World Play Project website setting up our campaign.

“We shared our flyers on Facebook, by email, and handed them out to family, friends and teachers,” Grant noted.

The boys’ goal was to sell 10 soccer balls. “So far we passed our goal and have sold 16 balls!” Grant stated.

The KCMAD project also requires a certain amount of community service hours.

“The biggest challenge has been finding ways to earn volunteer hours,” Connor said. “The kids that this organization helps are in foreign countries and we can’t volunteer directly.”

Grant added that, “Instead we have decided to help our local community organization, SYI, clean up their facility and get ready for the spring soccer season.”

“By participating in this project, the boys have learned to be more empathetic and compassionate toward others,” said Connor’s mom, Kristin Hughey. “Reading about many of the campaigns people have set up through this organization to help refugees, orphanages or disadvantaged youth, the boys have learned just how many communities around the world are in need.  They better appreciate that they are very lucky, and that the opportunity to play organized sports is not something all kids enjoy.”

She added that, “The huge number of active campaigns they saw on this site also showed the boys how many people are taking action to help their world community.  This has set a great example for them and I hope it inspires them to continue to volunteer.”

There are three options to help Connor and Grant with this project: For $39.99, you can buy a ball for yourself and a second one to be donated. For $25, you can purchase a single ball to be donated. You can make a monetary donation to the students and they will put all the money raised toward purchasing balls. All of these donations can be made at before May 1.