In late 2009, the families of nine students made contact with Boy With a Ball’s Regional Director Josue Garcia looking for a way to keep their high-achieving young people in school. Difficult weather had left these families without the crops they need to survive and, as a result, trying to feed each person in the house had become their central challenge. Keeping kids in school was forced to fall by the wayside.
In late February, in response to receiving another set of letters from these same students, Boy With a Ball Global staff traveled by bus, taxi, and ferry to arrive at the island of Ometepe around 7 pm on a Sunday evening. As we arrived at a local pastor’s house in the dark, they walked onto a porch where the students had been waiting for several hours. Our staff asked them to each tells about where they were in their studies, what their dreams were and what kind of help was necessary to help them stay in school and graduate. One by one, the students laid out their cases, each one speaking with sincerity and passion. Each one refusing to settle for quitting. And then we prayed.
In the end, we offered the group a deal: Boy With a Ball would head back to look for the finances necessary for these students to go to school in exchange for the students returning to the island once a month to be trained as a Boy With a Ball team that could turn and help other Nicaraguan young people. The students agreed without flinching.
On Monday night, April 19th, 2010, Western Union Foundation‘s Program Director Tony Tapia sent an email giving us the news. They were giving us the money we would need to help the students. They could go to school.
Nine years have passed and these students have grown their organization, El Nino y la Bola Nicaragua to two locations: Nicaragua’s capital city, Managua, and back home, on Ometepe where they are all from. The team has included hundreds of Nicaraguan students who have been able to graduate from college while learning to turn and impact their community. Most importantly, they’ve learned to live by faith.
Still supported by Western Union, Boy With a Ball Nicaragua leaders are walking each week into struggling communities to provide the friendship, tutoring, and support to now help a new generation of students rise. It’s a love story that builds.