Playing a sport is one of the most developmental experiences a child can take part in. Sports offer great health benefits, foster social interaction and give children a sense of fun, happiness and motivation. Most impoverished children who play sports end up quitting or have to quit because of how expensive sportswear and equipment are. Even then, less investment goes into sports programs in underdeveloped countries, and as a result, players struggle to reach their full potential. Some interpret this as developing countries do not perform as well as more powerful countries in global sporting events. This is why two professional lacrosse players are giving back with the Give & Go Foundation: an organization dedicated to supporting underserved lacrosse communities around the world through a variety of services, helping some of the 365 million children living in extreme poverty.
The Professional Lacrosse Players Behind the Give & Go Foundation
Adam Ghitelman and Scott Ratliff are professional lacrosse players with major accomplishments in lacrosse, but they are also the inventors of a global nonprofit organization. Ratliff, a long stick midfielder and captain for the Archers Lacrosse Club, is a three-time Major League Lacrosse All-Star and a 2017 recipient of the fundraising award “Real Man of the MLL.”
Ghitelman, a goalie for the Archers Lacrosse Club, is a two-time Major League Lacrosse All-Star and was chosen as the World Lacrosse Foundation Ambassador of the Year. These two came together to organize the Give & Go Foundation with the simple mission of growing the game of lacrosse around the world, focusing on underdeveloped communities. The game has “brought so much” to their lives, so they decided to give others the chance to experience it. “Lacrosse promotes teamwork, physical exercise, discipline and communication. By sharing this sport with underserved programs we will be able to add massive value to the lives of the players whom we connect with,” said the co-founders on the organization’s website.
How the Give & Go Foundation Makes a Difference
Since 2015, Ghitelman and Ratliff have been giving back with the Give & Go Foundation to empower, grow, link and inspire lacrosse communities globally. This organization focuses on financing, consulting, educating and donating resources to lacrosse programs in need.
Program development is a focus point of the organization, providing resources to numerous programs: coaching, funding, equipment and even “kickstart[ing] international youth programs.” Children’s personal development is an area of focus that Give & Go prioritizes through leadership, education and shared love for the game.
There are scholarship programs that allow the next generation to attend college/prep school, ensuring they reach their fullest possible potential. Give & Go aims for programs to reach Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Status to support players with “the dream of playing in the world games.”
The Give & Go Foundation serves as a worldwide network for the lacrosse community, connecting lacrosse players all around the globe. Travel experiences are another focal point, so the organization gives stipends to travel and coach in various places and establishes travel plans for individuals, groups and teams.
The Foundation makes sure to provide all the necessary equipment for the game along with money for the field space as there is no way to play the game if there is nowhere to play. Professional ambassadors, both men and women, work to inspire, consult and teach programs internationally.
Helping Countries in Poverty
A few of the many countries Give & Go has impacted include Jamaica, Argentina, Costa Rica, Portugal, Spain, the Czech Republic, Nicaragua, Panama and the Netherlands. In just these countries alone, millions of people face poverty. In Nicaragua, in 2016, about 25% of people lived below the national poverty line. Meanwhile, in Portugal, in 2016, close to 2.6 million people faced risks of poverty, and in Argentina, about 10 million people endured poverty in the first half of 2019.
Ghitelman and Ratliff have already impacted so many lives by giving back with the Give & Go Foundation. The organization is providing children all over the world with the opportunity of playing the great sport of lacrosse. In the process, the organization educates children and teaches them skills necessary for personal development.
In an interview with The Sport of Philanthropy in 2019, co-founder Ratliff said that “Sports are a safe environment to learn how to fail and try again, to learn how to deal with loss in emotionally elevated circumstances and to learn how to communicate through differences with teammates and coaches who aren’t always like you.” He further stated that his mission “is to not only help more people have access to sports but also to understand the power and value of sports when viewed through this lens.”
The Give & Go Foundation is prioritizing the well-being and development of children through sports, ensuring that children obtain the skills and empowerment necessary to rise out of poverty.
– Dylan Olive
Photo: Wikipedia Commons