Local high school girls help those in need!
Shisa Volleyball Club from Okinawa recently arrived home from an eight day stay in the Philippines. Shisa Volleyball Club originally started six years ago by Coach Michael Hogen and is assisted by Coach Kent Grubbs and Coach Luis Vasquez. Girls ranging from 9th to 12th grade that have Sofa Status are eligible to participate in the club. The club was formed to give high school female athletes the opportunity to play at a competitive level year round. However, not only were the players given multiple volleyball opportunities, they also got to experience first-hand just how impoverished much of the Philippines are. This was the third consecutive year that the club visited the Philippines to lend a hand.
During their time in the Philippines they stayed at the Kids International Ministries, a non-governmental organization that helps poverty-stricken communities. With the help of Jeff Long and his staff, the team was given multiple opportunities to make a difference in the region. The American Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA) also stepped in and donated money to help fund the trip. Shisa Volleyball is very grateful for their generosity.
Shisa Volleyball participated in many matches to include a small tournament. They were even given the opportunity to play in an arena that seats up to 8,000 people. Shisa played high school teams and University teams from around the Philippines such as; Brent Academy, International School in Manila (ISM), Faith Academy, and Adamson University. The girls won four games and really grew as a team. One evening Shisa attended a college volleyball match where they got to witness two very high level teams compete.
The team spent most of their mornings helping out around the ministry. A group of girls would go to the orphanage nearby and play with all the kids, including the younger ones in the nursery. Every child there welcomed the team with open arms and lots of smiles. Katricia Aquino’s most memorable moment was “being able to witness one of the nursery kids being adopted.” All the children there were super playful and very outgoing.
The girls also went to three feedings where they provided many of the children with food and donated clothes. All of the children would come running through the streets with their bowls, knowing they were about to get fed a great meal. The team scooped them rice and hotdogs, always with extra ketchup, that always seemed to be a favorite. Despite their living circumstances, every child was appreciative and smiling. Alanna Stein explained “It was truly life changing to see all the families that needed the most help, and it made us realize just how good all of us have it".
The players also spent time at a local school where they helped tutor the children. They would pull students out of the classroom and help them with anything they needed. The students loved the chance to sit down with the children one on one and interact with them. Construction work was also done by some of the players to help build an additional classroom for the school. Using a pulley system they hauled up bags of rock that were then turned into concrete.
Samantha Hernandez ended the trip by saying “I really enjoyed gaining so much chemistry with everyone, and I'm so grateful that I got to experience a different side of the world that most people only see in pictures.” The team cannot express how life changing this experience was, and how they all desire to return one day.