From my Manila Standard Column Game Winners: May 28, 2010
I’m sure you’ve happened upon children out in the streets, knocking on your car window, asking for money. How about kids loitering about, sniffing on some rugby, or rummaging through garbage, or picking someone’s pocket, or worse, pimping themselves out? Such is their harsh reality.
High Five Hope, one of the charity organizations I’ve been involved with, has been putting together a sports tournament for hundreds of street kids under the Child Hope Asia Philippines program for the past few years. Child Hope sends out street educators to edify them on their rights, teach them to be morally upright, to have self respect, and a slew of things that they never had a chance to pick up. Having a sports program giveS these kids an opportunity to learn about teamwork, trust, being accountable, and having a goal.
This gives them an alternate universe, one with kinder realities, one where they can have a high off winning and not a high off drugs. Though it could be regarded as a mere temporary escape, this gives them a taste of how it would be should they choose to make the right decisions in life. It truly is a tangible way to give them hope and to give them a better future.
300 street kids, 18 teams, 3 cities, 1 vision. Basketball games and volleyball games will be almost every day from May till October. It used to be just an 8-week long tournament but since it’s been so successful and the results have been really encouraging, we have decided to extend the schedule. The kids themselves swear that it’s changed their lives for the better and that just fuels our efforts even more.
Last May 22, we had the tournament kick off at the Rizal Coliseum. High Five Hope Singapore representative Chris Levanes flew in and delivered a message from founder and president Bill Hilf who emphasized on rules such as respect for one another, and absolutely no drugs allowed. Olympian and Philippine Sports Commissioner Akiko Thompson also attended and talked about how sports brought out the best in her, but she sacrificed and worked hard to get to top of her game.
The Philippine Volleyball Federation through its Vice President Gener Dungo brought the RP women’s squad to play in an exhibition game and conduct a clinic for the kids in the morning with courtside reporter Miakka Lim giving a hand. Collegiate basketball coaches such as Franco Atienza, Gabby Severino and Charles Tiu addressed the street educators’ concerns about coaching basics. They stayed on to help Purefoods assistant coach Dayong Mendoza and his assistant coach Pong in the basketball clinic with former PBA star Vince Hizon (my ever supportive husband), and Talk and Text players Lamont Waters, Ryan Reyes and Kelly Williams who is always there to help the foundation.
To advance our sports program, High Five Hope has partnered with Olympic Village to gather new or used sports equipment and apparel which could be dropped off in bins found in all 18 of their stores nationwide. We’ve received tennis and badminton racquets, basketball shoes, volleyball gear, workout equipment, athletic wear, etc. Personally, I’ve received donations from Jimmy Alapag, Harvey Carey, Williams, Rudy Hatfield, Nic Belasco and wife Mafae, Gabe Norwood, and Joe and Monica Devance. More PBA players have pledged their support for the “I Give Hope Campaign”. I share this bit of info with you in hopes that you too would take the time and rummage through your belongings to see if have things that may help our endeavour. At this point, every bit of help will be much appreciated.
Please follow me on twitter for more info (@patriciahizon) or visit www.highfivehope.org to learn more about our mission.