Blog written by Danielle Valente / Advisor for Girls Soccer Worldwide.
This photo popped up on my phone the other day bringing flashback memories from a year ago. (A year ago from this weekend our Girls Soccer Worldwide™ Paraguay trip was in motion.) The photo was the inside of a local Paraguayan school and it brought me back to that exact moment.
There’s a “Bienvenidos” sign front and center, and to the left there’s a section titled “matematica” with colorful numbers underneath. I took this photo last year during my second trip to Paraguay.
Originally, I took this photo to show others a comparison of the lack of resources public schools have in Paraguay compared to in the states. This has now become a reminder to serve whenever and wherever I can.
Shortly after I took this photo, all of the international ambassadors individually gave backpacks to each student in (material) need. This was part of a culmination of all of the GSW volunteers and founders’ hard work on full display. All of their service and heart laid out and seen in the eyes of the students receiving their new backpacks and school supplies.
It was taken at the same location except on the soccer pitch right outside of the school. In the video clip you can see the pouring down rain, the large puddles, the outside of the school with the small awning, the three sticks put together to make a soccer goal and tons of smiling soccer players of all ages.
…the drinking of matte, the faint local music, the booming giggles, and laughter from everyone on the field. If you had the blessing to be there, right in this moment, you can knew the gratitude, the joy, the connectedness of it all.
It was cracked open during my first trip in Paraguay two years ago but is now pulsating throughout my body. My acts for Girls Soccer Worldwide do not feel like service though. They are a part of me. It feels as though a close family member is requesting my help and without questioning I will always say yes.
I saw this all throughout the different projects I engaged in during my time in Paraguay. The community, the culture and the love to make the most of whatever they have. Material items may seem appealing from time to time but there is nothing more valuable than a full heart. Knowing we are all in this together.
I carry this with me throughout my daily life on the east coast. To help others shine at full wattage. To bring light to the tiny corners of my world.
Reflection written by Danielle Valente, Advisor for Girls Soccer Worldwide™
Danielle also serves on our Leadership Development committee focusing on our Ambassador for Change and Grassroots Leadership Programs.
She is an essential part of our team and works consistently behind the scenes bringing valuable insight to our programs!!!