Being A Good Neighbor: Empower 2 Play Returns Home – Insights From Tara Paranjpe


2 months ago, the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil caught the eye of people around the world. Almost 205 countries were a part of the games; which included nearly 11,000 athletes. The spirit of the world increased dramatically as more countries participated in the friendly and healthy competition. For those 16 days, the Olympics unified the world.

“Sports has the power to unify, motivate, and empower.”

On September 10, 2016, Coach AK, Robert Grevious, Jonathan Jean-Louis and Samantha Nielson, the Empower 2 Play Team, traveled into Cite Soleil, Haiti with the mission to make an enormous impact on the lives of over 300 children living in the community. A community identified as one of the “most dangerous” neighborhoods on the planet.  After multiple days of collaboration and preparation with the local community members, as well as the United States Embassy in Haiti, the 2-day sports camp finally kicked-off on September 17th.

Students arrived to the grassy field at 7AM, excited and buzzing with enthusiasm for the day’s activities. The event was live streamed and viewers were able to experience memorable events, such as, during the first day when groups of children  were called up to the front to show their signature dance moves. This was an opportunity for the community to come together in a fun and expressive way. The excitement and happiness of the children created a welcoming atmosphere for everyone and really set the mood for the two-day community building event.

The second day, the Cite Soleil Community, the Empower 2 Play team and Co-Host Kako Bourjolly, were welcoming by the United States Ambassador to Haiti, Peter Mulrean. Ambassador Mulrean, his family, as well as his leadership team joined in the second day’s activities with assisting in teaching the game of American Football as well as speaking on the importance of the power of sports and community development.

Two days and several memorable moments later, the Empower2Play family chose 16 new recipients into the Global Ambassador Network. A network which provides educational opportunities and will connect them with other impact leaders already represented within the network of Empower 2 Play.

The Empower 2 Play family succeeded in connecting the community, the United States Embassy, and everyone watching online through the power of sports. The Empower 2 Play mission is “to create a global family one sport at a time,” and this recent event helped bring them closer to their objective. As a neighbor to Haiti, Empower 2 Play was able to bring the world closer together with their efforts.

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September 28th is Good Neighbor’s day. This is a day designed to honor the important and significant neighbors in your life. Whether it is your next-door neighbor or a different country entirely, it is important to remember that we all share the world and should all share its happiness. We should remember that in caring for our neighbors, we are caring for ourselves and are simultaneously making the world a better place for those in our future.

It is a blessing to have a good neighbor, but it is an even greater thing to BE a good neighbor.”


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