By: Adam Reid
Anticipating and planning for the future is important. Mindfulness in the present is important, too. But there’s something funny about the retrospect, when, upon reflecting, everything sort of comes together and makes even more sense – and, in this case, is all the more treasured. After nearly two months since leaving Cebu City and meaningful experiences with Pandoo Foundation, this lesson strikes me often.
Although Pandoo brightens countless young lives through various mediums, one unique method is its Sports and Leadership Program. Team-oriented athletics are an integral part of one’s upbringing. With this approach, kids who otherwise might not be afforded the opportunity for team sports are able to develop skills in leadership, communication, accountability and teamwork alongside their counterparts. Since its relatively recent inception, Pandoo’s Sports and Leadership angles in volleyball and ball hockey have been wildly successful – all through the eyes of donors, organizers and, chiefly, the kids.
Prior to joining the foundation, I had read and heard wonderful things about Pandoo’s volleyball league. It was not until relocating to Cebu, though, that the enormity of the program hit me. My first week there, I attended a match. Uniforms. Officials. Scorekeeping. Coaches. Fans. This was very real. And these young girls were eating it up with a spoon. No blog or social media post (and certainly not this piece) can do it justice. Via the tumult of a full-scale volleyball season, kids learn how to win and lose the right way – and how those lessons can be applied to everyday life beyond the court.
An additional, newer approach for the Sports and Leadership Program is ball hockey. With volleyball catering to young girls, ball hockey has been geared toward boys, though not exclusively. Pandoo’s first implementation occurred this past summer at Casa Miani, a renowned, impressive community for boys who are either orphans or hail from broken homes. As someone who grew up around hockey, I naively projected the learning curve for these kids would be steep. I was sorely mistaken. The boys took right to it, quickly adopting basic mechanics; before long, a mini ball hockey tournament broke out. Seeing them grow in ways other than hockey over the weeks was special.
My brief time in Cebu with Pandoo Foundation – and experience with its Sports and Leadership initiative – has forever altered my perceptions, perhaps many of which are now subconscious. Going in, I knew the program was good for kids. In the moment, I knew the program was good for kids. But, only now, looking back, I know the program is great for kids. I can’t wait to see what’s next.