By J.L. Shively
The Spanish word “somos” means “we are” and this announcement represents the sense of community and partnership created by the organization Somos: The Nicaraguan Project.
The founders and those who participate in donating to this group are, in a sense, the Nicaraguan Project, because such a project would not exist without the support of volunteers and generous donations.
Students at Roxbury HS became a part of this project in Dec., when the Spanish Club participated in a donations drive in support of Somos: The Nicaraguan Project.
Somos: The Nicaraguan Project is an organization which was founded in 2014 by a Rutgers business student, Sam Bensley. The mission of the group according to its website is “empowering kids to empower their communities through sports and education.”
In order to do this, Somos collects monetary donations as well donations of sporting equipment to assist them in running sport camps for impoverished areas of Nicaragua.
Roxbury HS Spanish teacher of five years and Spanish Club advisor, Samantha Gorman, suggested partnering with The Nicaragua Project after meeting Bensley at the Fall Festival in Morristown.
The Spanish club had made it a goal to take part in two community service projects this school year and “collaborating with The Nicaragua Project seemed to be a great start,” explains Gorman.
Riding on the wings of the success of the past year’s shoe drive, which the Spanish Club donated to a town in Guatemala that was devastated by mudslides, the students dove right into the drive for Nicaragua.
“The Spanish Club officers, along with a few other volunteer members from the Spanish Club, helped to organize and promote the drive, as well as collect donations the day of the drive,” says Gorman.
The drive was advertised throughout the school via fliers, posters, and school announcements as well as in the Roxbury Newsletter and on the school’s Facebook page.
The actual drive at Roxbury HS was a one day event, taking place on Sat., Dec. 10 between 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
During this time students donated soccer balls, baseballs and baseball mitts as well as soccer cleats and gently-worn athletic wear which are the items most needed by Somos.
The Fri. before the drive the Spanish Club also hosted an empanada sale where students could make monetary donations toward The Nicaragua Project cause. This allowed for more communication to the students about the sporting goods drive and the importance of donating to the children of Nicaraguan communities who have little to nothing.
Overall the drive was a success for the Spanish Club and more importantly it is sure to be a home run for the children of Nicaragua.
“Through some generous donations made by many people in the Roxbury community, we collected a few boxes of used soccer cleats, soccer balls, baseball bats along with bags to carry them, some basketballs and a box or two of children’s athletic wear,” says Gorman.
A majority of the equipment that was donated will be shipped to Nicaragua in the spring and although nothing is set in stone, the Spanish Club is hoping to work with Somos again after the end of the spring sports season.
“According to Sam [Bensley], many of these communities [in Nicaragua] only have one or two balls, sometimes not even soccer balls, for children to play with, so these donations undoubtedly mean a lot to them,” sums up Gorman.
The donations are sure to be a hit with the children of Nicaragua and with this partnership the students at Roxbury have earned something much more important than a goal.