I have considered myself a grassroots philanthropist since serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, West Africa over 30 years ago. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm, service and inspiration alone were not enough to make my dream a reality. But over the last 10 years with the help of generous friends and supporters who believed, Project Play has now become a reality.
Project Play Soccer is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children through the sport of soccer. We started out delivering and implementing organized soccer programs to impoverished nations of Niger (2008) & Benin (2010) with the goal helping to eliminate poverty & violence starting in the poorest region on the planet the Sub Saharan Africa. We currently have 1400 schools and 100,000 kids in Niger actively involved in education with the help of the beautiful game, Soccer.
Peace Corps 1984 Niger, Mike with Hadiza, a beautiful Nigerien girl who
loved to kick the ball around. She was one of the first girls to publicly play soccer with Mike breaking taboos.
I know a soccer ball can have a positive impact in children’s lives who live in extreme poverty, I witnessed it personally from 1983 to 1985 when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger. In 1984 the worst drought in recorded history hit us, the ball was crucial for all of us to make it through suffering beyond belief, it gave hope and created smiles, it was/is a powerful tool in helping to eliminate poverty & violence.
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and the soccer ball is a fundamental tool to mobilize children, encourage healthy living and bring hope to young people with few opportunities in their lives. I have seen the soccer ball inspire leadership, team work and confidence and be a tool to motivate children to attend school.
Phase I of Project Play was implemented in February 2008 when a small entourage landed in Niamey, Niger. The Project Play entourage delivered over 2000 balls to communities and rural villages throughout Niger. We were fortunate to experience first-hand the joy and happiness a soccer ball can bring to children and their communities.
Returning from Africa with renewed enthusiasm and proof that the simplicity of a soccer ball can change lives, Project Play stepped up plans to expand efforts to other African nations and to implement programs to replenish balls to schools, organizations and villages already visited. We have partnered up with the NGO Pencils For Kids creating a connection between education and recreation, a match made in heaven. We are also actively pursuing funding through donations, sponsors and grants please help us in these areas as with your support we continue our mission.
My requests to you are simple:
• Learn more about Project Play Soccer.
• Pass this message on. A simple email can inspire one voice to a thousand.
• Become a sponsor
• Organize a presentation of Project Play at a school, club, media, etc.
• Make a donation.
Project Play is committed to continue our mission in Africa as well as other regions around the world that need HELP … one ball, one child, one village, one country at a time.
Mike Mitchell, Founder Project Play Soccer
Mike lives in Brazil with his wife Telinha and son Keegan.