It’s Not How You Start, It’s How You Finish!
Ivan Guzmán began life in El Salvador disabled and abandoned as a child. Unable to walk, he found love and care at the Vito Guarato Orphanage near the city where Sports Outreach works. As a result of his disability, government schools could not enroll him and his hopes of achieving an education were bleak. But Ivan is a dreamer and ever since he was a boy he had visions of one day becoming bilingual. At the request of the orphanage director, Sports Outreach stepped in and Ivan was provided a scholarship to go to a private high school, where he studied English, French, and Italian. Now graduated, he speaks four languages and hopes to continue with a university education, desiring to one day work for an international company and become independent.
Ivan’s story includes several of the poignant life experiences common to many students who are blessed to be part of the education ministry of Sports Outreach. His abandonment as a child, lack of resources or transportation to attend school, the challenge of having a disability—these factors, in addition to limited access to enough food and clean water (as is so common in Uganda and Kenya)—paints a picture of why receiving a normal education is nearly impossible for so many youth in the areas where Sports Outreach serves.
Through the Andrew Popp Memorial Scholarship Fund, Sports Outreach is able to provide needy children with the education so vital for their future success! The Koro pre-school at the Good News Community Center near Gulu, Uganda, now has 135 students enrolled with many more attending school in surrounding villages. In Kampala, Uganda approximately 100 students are educated at various private schools as they prepare for exams to get them into university. In Nairobi, Kenya, over 40 students can now attend school, with many more waiting in the wings. In each of our mission fields there is potential for so many more students to be involved, if only funds were available.
Taking a closer look at Ivan’s story, we see another theme emerging; that of students graduating from secondary school and looking to go to university. As Sports Outreach has been involved in education for well over ten years, many youth are now completing high school and passing their college entrance exams. In the areas where Sports Outreach works, there are enormous needs for professionals such as teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers, and software technicians. An even greater need exists for people who have been mentored with a Christian worldview and can do their jobs with moral excellence while showing the love of God. On a recent trip to Uganda and Kenya Sal Ferlise (Sports Outreach CEO) visited with over 40 young adults who have graduated as a result of the Andrew Popp Memorial Scholarship Fund. What he found most amazing was how many of these individuals are now serving alongside Sports Outreach staff members, giving back to the very ministry that has given them hope for a meaningful future.
Though the need is still great, education has been provided for hundreds of children who would otherwise not have access to it. From the humblest of beginnings, Sports Outreach is seeing students thrive, grow to maturity, and ready to take the next step in their educational journey. They are wanting to finish well the race that God has marked out for them. Through your gift of $40 a month for elementary school, $65 for secondary school, or $100 for university, we can continue to provide opportunities for children to reach their fullest potential.
Elevation/Jacob’s Ladder Team (Charlotte, NC)
The team is pictured at the Sports Outreach Resource Center in Kampala, Uganda, in front of the house that Elevation Church helped to build.
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