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  • Soccer Without Borders

Volunteer Spotlight: Hailey

Hailey is a 2017-2018 SOURCE Scholar with the SWB Baltimore Program through Johns Hopkins University where she is completing her Master's degree in Public Health. She volunteers at Vanguard Middle School helping out with coaching and tutoring.

Where are you from?

I’m from a small town in Western Massachusetts called South Hadley. It’s a very rural area and we don’t even have any fast food in my town. My dad has lived there his whole life, so we have a lot of family and friends in the area.

Where do you live now? What do you like about where you live?

I currently live in Baltimore. I came to Baltimore for graduate school, and I’m staying after I graduate because I love the city. I like how every neighborhood has its own culture and vibe, how close Baltimore is to the water, and how easy it is to get around Baltimore. It’s also close enough to my family is in Massachusetts so that I can easily go home to visit.

What position are you and why?

I have played center defense since I started playing when I was 5. I continued all through high school, always center back. I loved playing there because it meant that I could see all the players on the field, call to my teammates to warn them of oncoming players, and adjust to the situation accordingly. I also liked being able to work the rules in my favor, directing the defense to pull forward to catch the other team offsides.

What are some highlights from your playing history?

My parents came to almost all of my soccer games while I was growing up even though as a center back, I usually wasn’t involved in monumental plays. The only time they didn’t make it to a game, I scored two goals in one game, and was the only one on either team to score. When I told my parents after, they didn’t even believe me!

How did you get involved with SWB?

I began working with Soccer Without Borders as a practicum requirement for my Master’s program at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. I had previously been involved with a health education and life skills program that used soccer to teach young people about HIV prevention in Tanzania. With that experience, I learned how powerful sports can be to provide opportunities for inclusion and growth. I really loved the idea of working with Soccer Without Borders to continue those values of friendship, community, and encouragement through sports.

Describe SWB in three words

If I had to describe SWB in three words, I would say fun, encouraging, and empowering. It is a great opportunity to learn how to play soccer and improve as a player with the support of friends. Even more than that, the coaching and staff that support SWB truly care about students achieving their full potential. They encourage students to continue to try to be better every single day, and they work tirelessly to give students the skills that they need to be productive. The community environment at SWB is contagious.

What is a quote that you live by?

A quote I live by is “choose joy.” It reminds me that, no matter what happens, good or bad, we have the power to decide how we feel about it. Every day is a new day and a new opportunity to do things that make you happy.

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