When athletic teams decide to buy new uniforms, the old ones are either used for in-game promotions and fan giveaways, or they are stored away, never to be seen again until someone cleans out the storage area.
The Seattle University women's soccer program was recently able to provide uniforms to schoolchildren in Uganda through a series of events showing that sports can provide a means to make a difference in the world by bringing joy to those less fortunate on the other side of the planet.
Sue DeVries, the mother of Seattle University athletic trainer Caroline Durocher, was preparing for a trip to Uganda as part of a service program at Bellevue Christian School, where DeVries is a third-grade teacher. DeVries was one of 10 staff members from the school traveling to the John T. Miller School in Kampala, Uganda, to help the teachers and students create a better educational experience.
The BCS staff members were asked to solicit donations to take on the trip, including monetary contributions as well as donations of school supplies. The officials at the Ugandan school also asked for clothing donations, specifically gear for soccer, the most popular sport in the world.
As the athletic trainer for women's soccer, Durocher knew that the Redhawk team had recently acquired new uniforms. She asked head coach Julie Woodward if the uniforms no longer in use could be donated for the trip to Uganda, and Woodward readily agreed with the request. Durocher, an alumnus of Bellevue Christian School, gave the uniforms to her mother, who was able to bring the boxes on the trip thanks to British Airways' policy of allowing humanitarian donations onto its aircraft for free.
DeVries was present in the office of school principal Judah Kaganga when he opened the box of uniforms. She witnessed a look of excitement and joy from Kaganga, as he knew that the children would welcome the chance to play the game they love in quality uniforms. His excitement about the donations led to the posting of photos of the children wearing the donated gear on his personal Facebook page, with some of those photos included in a gallery accompanying this story on GoSeattleU.com.
Teams within the Seattle University athletics department have donated uniforms and other gear they no longer use to several organizations around the world over the past few years. The student-athletes, coaches, and athletics staff always strive to follow the University mission of educating the whole person to professional formation and to empowering leaders for a just and humane world.