On a recent trip to Rwanda, Jere Shea noticed that the local children were using twigs and banana leaves as makeshift balls.
Shea, the Director of Principal Gifts for Partners in Health (PIH), frequently witnesses the poverty levels of third world countries firsthand. He also regularly watches his son, Jesse, play ball.
PIH is a non-profit organization delivering health care and social justice to residents of the poorest regions in twelve countries.
Upon returning from his last trip, Jere showed Jesse a photo of the makeshift balls.
"When I saw the pictures my dad brought back from Rwanda," Jesse said. " I figured giving these kids even just a soccer ball could make some difference in their lives."
Jesse, who is an HHS varsity soccer player, is also working at PIH in Boston this summer. After seeing the pictures, he decided to take some action by gathering his teammates together in the hopes of coming up with a way to make a difference.
They decided to collect soccer balls to ship to Rwanda.
"My teammates helped bring the idea to the Hopkinton youth soccer camp," Jesse said. " And the generosity of all the parents and campers really made it a reality."
With the help of all involved, Jesse was able to collect 55 balls to ship to the Rwinkwavu area in Rwanda.
"The (soccer) balls will be given to kids and young people who have organized a soccer league in the area," Jesse explained.
Jesse and his teammates are hopeful that these balls will provide some entertainment to those kids who have little else in their lives.