LPCS elementary students send soccer balls to Kenya

Fourth- and fifth-grade students draw messages on soccer balls that are being sent to a school in Kenya.

Fourth- and fifth-grade students draw messages on soccer balls that are being sent to a school in Kenya.

— LAKE PLACID — Students in Kenya will soon have another reason to smile – soccer balls, thanks to the effort of Lake Placid Elementary School students in grade four and five and physical education teacher, Matt Young.

Young arranged for his friend, Keela Dates, who is the Executive Director of the Reason 2 Smile group, to visit the school on Wednesday, Oct. 19, when she accepted a donation of soccer balls from students in grades four and five.

Dates, with the support of her board members and other enthusiastic individuals, work daily to provide both immediate and long-term financial stability for Jambo Jipya School in Kenya while helping orphaned and at-risk children in developing countries to receive an education and some stability in their lives.

During her visit with the elementary students, she helped the kids draw notes on the balls with magic markers. The balls will ultimately be carried by Dates back to students at the Jambo Jipya School in Kenya, Africa in January, 2012.

The balls will allow her students to have proper soccer balls to play with well into the future.

The soccer balls were originally given to the elementary school by the Deadhead Company, which uses the school soccer fields each summer to host a soccer camp. In turn, Dreadhead donates boxes of soccer balls to the school and, according to Young, the school had more soccer balls than they could use, and he felt it would be a nice project for the students to give the balls to the African students complete with a friendly message of encouragement and joy.

“We really emphasized the idea that soccer is the most popular sport in the world,” Dates said.

She explained that students in her school love soccer and most often her students don't have enough money to buy a soccer ball, so they make one out of garbage bags and twine.

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