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South Valley Journal

Sophomore athlete scores 205 soccer balls for elementary school children

Mar 28, 2017 02:55PM ● By Tori LaRue

Guy Chiarenza presents the soccer balls and soccer nets he collected to Providence Hall Elementary administration. (Monica Chiarenza)

By Tori La Rue | [email protected]

Guy Chiarenza, a sophomore striker on the Providence Hall High School soccer team, shared the love for his favorite sport with children at his alma mater by gathering 205 soccer balls for Providence Hall Elementary.

“I want to inspire the next generation of soccer players,” Chiarenza said. “I wanted them to have access to the equipment because they might find that they love the sport that I love.”

Before Chiarenza’s donation, the elementary school had limited gym equipment with eight soccer balls. Doug Pinkal, the physical education teacher at the school, said Guy’s contributions were “a dream come true.”

“It might only take one soccer ball to play a game, but it takes many to do meaningful drills and encourage skill development,” he said. “The donation easily provides each student a ball during PE, with plenty to spare for recess.”

Chiarenza began trying to come up with a community service project in November when he heard that Providence Hall Elementary was running low on gym equipment. He put the soccer spin on the project to coincide with his own passion for the sport and rounded up the soccer balls by early March. His original goal was to provide 20 soccer balls for the school, but he exceeded that goal 10 times over.

“I was so surprised,” Chiarenza said. “I knew I could be successful with the donation, but I didn’t think that would mean giving away 200 soccer balls and two soccer nets. I was just shocked—in a good way.”

Some of the companies he contacted declined to donate or didn’t contact him back, so he said it felt like a victory when he received $50 in donations to shop at Big 5 Sporting Goods. He used that money to purchase five new soccer balls. He also cleaned cars to earn money to purchase soccer goals for the school.

Later, Chiarenza heard back from Copper Mountain Soccer Club representatives. They said they would donate at least 50 soccer balls to his cause and ended up donating 200 balls.

“I couldn’t be happier with this outcome,” Chiarenza said. “Now the kids have a chance to really try this sport out.”

Soccer is a hobby that has helped Chiarenza through the ups and downs of life, he said. He started the sport at 4 years old and has continued play ever since. He said he’s developed a love of teamwork and friendship through soccer and hopes his project can help others find that, too.

Chiarenza used the project to accomplish a Middle Years Program, a personal 25-hour project through the  International Baccalaureate educational foundation. From drafting a plan, to asking businesses for donations to presenting his project outcome to others involved in the MYP program, Chiarenza said the project wasn’t an easy task but said it was worth it.

Pinkal said he was impressed with the determination one teenager had to help the students at Providence Hall Elementary.

“His project has created opportunities otherwise unavailable for many of our students,” Pinkal said. “I was very impressed with Guy for choosing a project that benefits his community, and I’m very grateful that our school is at the center of it.”