This past weekend I was invited to an event for a charity that has been near and dear to my heart for a long time, Right To Play. Many of you may have heard about Right To Play as it was also the organization that Celebrity Apprentice contestant Summer Sanders decided to donate her winnings to.
For those less familiar with the non-profit, Right To Play is a humanitarian, non-governmental organization started by four-time Olympic gold medal Olympian Johann Olav Koss. Right To Play is committed to improving the lives of the most disadvantaged children and their communities through Sport for Development. Sport for Development evolved out of the growing evidence that strengthening the right of children to play enhances their healthy physical and psychosocial development and builds stronger communities. Right To Play is committed to every child’s right to play. They give children a chance to become constructive participants in society, regardless of gender, disability, ethnicity, social background or religion. Through games and sports, they help create social change in communities affected by war, poverty and disease. They teach the children to “look after yourself, look after one another”, with the slogan scrawled across every ball they play with.
Like I mentioned, high-profile athletes such as Summer Sanders, Wayne Gretzky, Michael Phelps and Steve Young have all devoted time to the organization because they all understand what a powerful tool sport is in helping children develop physically, mentally and emotionally. The first time I heard about the organization—nearly 12 years ago now—I knew I wanted to give back to the cause to help other, more disadvantaged children, reap the same benefits from sports that I have.
Today, I wanted to share a few short lines about the experiences of my first visit to the field for Right To Play. There is truthfully no way to completely summarize my experiences of even 12 hours in one short blog. It is even harder to express the power of such a phenomenal, life-changing program or the emotions you feel when you see a little girl catch a Frisbee for the first time.