If you could change the trajectory of someone’s life in 48 hours, what would you do? What if you wanted to make an impact on an entire community, how would you do it?
Well, in 2013, the Empower 2 Play (E2P) team ventured to accomplish this task. In less than two weeks, the Marcos Compound community in Quezon City, Philippines, worked alongside Empower 2 Play and the United States Embassy to facilitate its first ever American football camp, a sport which was relatively unknown, to over 200 under-resourced children.
The two-day camp was a huge success. Within 48 hours, countless volunteers and families came together to provide resources as well as their support to empower the youth in their community - a population which is relatively invisible - to learn and compete in the sport of American football.
Lives were changed and connections were made. The E2P Team and the Marcos Compound community, with the help of community translators, successfully taught 200 children the game of American football and even facilitated full 11-on-11 games. Touchdowns were thrown, big runs were made, and the kids bonded through the experience.
Empower 2 Play is not about football though. We know that most of these kids will not continue to play the sport at a competitive level. Some may, but that is not our intention. We simply use team sports and movement as a tool, one that has been monumental in the development of E2P’s upbringing as well as countless others. Which sport we offer really does not matter. Rather, it’s about the life lessons learned and connections fostered through the activity.
Empower 2 Play is all about empowering communities and giving opportunities to individuals who most of the world overlook. Our team didn’t just come and facilitate a 2-day camp; our team lived in that community for 2 weeks and created a camp with the Marcos Compound community. The photographers, translators, cooks, maintenance team, coaches, as well as the kids all lived in that community.
We use the resources of that community, because when we leave the community knows that they have completed this undertaking collectively, and the resources are still present. But we don’t just leave the community with the resources already present. Within the two-week planning period, while we are living in the community, we are continually assessing their needs and values. In the two weeks we are not only planning the camp, but also developing a curriculum that will be most effective.
Our motto is "Empowering Communities One Sport at a Time." We accomplish this by introducing unfamiliar sports to environments in need of rebuilding and community. In the Philippines it was American football; in the United States it may be cricket. Introducing unfamiliar sports is essential because we understand the value of education and pushing ourselves past our comfort zones to enable growth and learning to happen.
Last summer, through our assessment, we established the Achieve Success Scholarship Fund, which provides financial resources, educational support, and mentoring to students who demonstrate hard work, leadership, compassion, and positive character.
To date, 5 children have been awarded the Achieve Success Scholarship. Through this scholarship these students will now have the opportunity to achieve their dreams and not be burdened with inadequate resources. With this opportunity, they can now attend school and live up to their full potential.
At Empower 2 Play, we use our passion for sports and education to empower communities around the world
With so many children around the globe living in under-resourced communities, many of them don’t even have a chance to receive a proper education, or those that do, drop out to help their family by scavenging for food or work in jobs that barely pay enough to feed them.
That’s why Empower 2 Play is so important. Not only do we inspire children, they inspire their families and communities with the new skills they’ve learned during our camp.
Our program is designed to inspire and empower the children who participate to continue to strive to reach their dreams by giving them an opportunity to learn through playing sports and in most cases doing something they have never tried or heard of before. We believe our program will help empower each child we reach to be a stronger member of their community.