Something more than volleyball
Here in the Dominican Republic we have a VC Revolution – Volleyball Club Revolution. The idea is to “revolutionize” the way volleyball is coached. We want to not only be a great volleyball club, but we want to teach girls something that will last much longer than just volleyball.
I’ve always heard that parents have a tough time when their kids go off to college. I never understood that until last month when four of our girls graduated from our VC Revolution program. To be a part of our volleyball ministry, girls can start at any age and as they get better, they can move up to become a “varsity” player. Throughout their years in our program, there are pretty high expectations of achieving certain grades, being a good role model in the community, as well as intense volleyball training. We have had the opportunity to coach and disciple many girls for multiple years. However, this past year was the first time that we actually had to “graduate” four Dominican girls from our varsity team. Mabelis Acevedo and Loreidy Hernandez have been a part of VC Revolution for four years, Dianny Moronta for three years, and Caroly Trinidad for two years.
I wish these girls could have stayed on varsity forever, but I knew we had to push them out of the nest. It is difficult, however, since many of them come from extremely poor homes and do not have money to attend college. Thankfully, we were able to find sponsors for all of the girls to attend a great college about 25 minutes away. We hope to find more sponsors to help cover transportation and books, but we are so thankful to have come this far. In return for their scholarships, the girls will volunteer 15 hours a week as assistant coaches for VC Revolution or help at other ministry sites. So not only will they be attending college, but they will continue to pour back to girls from their community. For most of these girls, they were the first in their family to even graduate high school! Now, they are really going above and beyond to attend college.
Ready to Fly
One neat story of how God has already started using these girls is through our community health site. Rachel Snider, who is in charge of that site, asked if I had anyone charismatic and organized who could be an assistant at her site. Immediately, Caroly popped into my mind since she is great with people, and because of our training for our states trip last summer, is pretty fluent in English. So for the past two months, she has been going out into communities, ministering to the Dominicans, translating for the Americans, and being a great help to Rachel and her site. I am so proud to see these girls, who have been a part of our ministry for so long, start to really give back and serve alongside Students International. Even though we have had some girls leave our nest, God continues to bless us with tons of new girls. I am so thankful to be a part of this ministry which allows us to disciple girls and then equip them with the tools they need so that they can go out and FLY!
-Jess Gates, SI staff