Soccer Without Borders Positive Tracks Ambassador, Nick Zak-Lee, is a two-time Sweat for Change race runner. Nick's fundraising efforts help support the Soccer Without Borders Oakland program.
Below Nick reflects on his experiences as a SWB Ambassador:
I first became aware of Soccer Without Borders after playing against their teams at both the club and varsity level in Oakland. However, it was not until a few years later that I had my first experience working alongside everyone at Soccer Without Borders. After my junior year of high school, I reached out to founder and Oakland director Ben to see if I could somehow spend my summer with them. That first summer I helped coach practices at Oakland Tech High School. The joy and positivity that I was met with during that summer led me to participate as a coach at Soccer Without Borders’ annual week-long soccer camp for the following two summers.
In addition to volunteering at camp, I participated in a “Sweat for Change” campaign in which I raised money for Soccer Without Borders by entering a 5K along with friends and family. I then reached out to more friends and family who donated various amounts of money upon the completion of the race. Along with the help of Oakland’s Ambassador Program Coordinator, Cristy Peterson, I was able to double my funds raised through an organization called Positive Tracks. Positive Tracks is an organization that helps young people turn sweat into civic action, so they can make the world better, starting with themselves. The first year I raised $550 and the second year I raised $270 leading to a grand total of $1640 raised for Soccer Without Borders. I knew this money would be going to well-deserved resources for Soccer Without Borders and its participants.
I was amazed to see how excited, interested and intrigued my family and friends became each time I reached out to them about donating to the campaign. They constantly wanted to know more about what Soccer Without Borders did and how they could become involved further. It was also incredible to see how easy it was to raise a significant amount of money just through sharing my campaign page. The fundraiser was a great way for me to quickly raise money that would go directly to Soccer Without Borders. Upon finishing the race, it was extremely gratifying to know that all of my efforts would benefit such a great organization and such great people. It was an awesome way to empower my family and friends as well as everyone involved with Soccer Without Borders.
The skills I learned while coaching and fundraising continue to influence me to this day, and I know that I will cherish my experiences with Soccer Without Borders forever. Although I am away in college now, I hope to continue to come back to Soccer Without Borders and help in anyway I can.
Are you inspired by Nick’s story? If you are under 23 and interested in becoming a Positive Tracks Ambassador for Soccer Without Borders, please fill out an interest form here and a SWB Ambassador Coordinator in your region will connect with you.
About Soccer Without Borders:
Soccer Without Borders, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that runs year-round youth development programs in under-served areas in the USA and abroad, Soccer Without Borders uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change. Through five core activities and a powerful team environment, SWB programs provide youth with a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion and personal success. We believe in the power of soccer, the world’s most popular sport and universal language, to create positive life changes. Since 2006, SWB has led programs and collaborations in eleven countries on five continents, and is best known for its work with newcomer refugee, asylee, and immigrant youth as well as engaging girls of all cultural backgrounds.