Kids in Action
"The amazing outcome made all of the hard work worth it.”
Sports were a huge part of Molly Shapiro’s life growing up. She went to practices and games each week, and her teammates became her best friends. Playing sports was her way of exercising, and she was able to meet new people outside of school. She cannot imagine what she would have done as a child if she had not been able to play sports.
“Sports played a huge role in my childhood, and they made me into the person I am today because I learned much more than just how to play them.”
– Molly Shapiro
There are many kids in the Atlanta area that are not able to join a sports team due to family financial reasons. When kids are not able to play on a team, they do not have a routine way to exercise, and probably do not know how to properly workout on their own. The lack of exercise that results from this is contributing to obesity, unhealthiness, and emotional issues in kids.
In order to help kids be more active, Molly wanted to provide an experience that she was fortunate enough to have to kids that have not been as fortunate. She ran a sports camp so that kids could exercise, while learning how to play sports and new games on their own so that they are able to use those skills to exercise at home. The camp helped the kids begin to exercise more, which leads to a healthier lifestyle, physically and emotionally.
Implementation of Project
Once Molly returned home from Alzar School, she met with the Agape Center to propose her plan for the camp, and they loved it. The Agape Center is an organization that helps underprivileged families of Atlanta by providing summer camps, after school activities, and academic tutoring for kids until they graduate. The employees of Agape constantly try to keep the kids busy and active during the summer, so Molly’s idea for a sports camp turned out to be a perfect fit.
After this meeting, Molly’s first goal was to find volunteers for Kids in Action. Although this seemed like the easiest part, it proved to be difficult. She wanted her volunteers to be people who benefitted from sports, and understood the mission of Kids in Action. Many of her friends were going to be out of town during the camp, and the ones that were available did not play sports or were not interested in helping. She ended up having 5 volunteers and herself, which was a perfect number for the amount of kids at the camp.
A challenging part of organizing the camp revolved around the number of participants. Molly had been told that there would be (at most) 30 kids at her camp, but when she arrived on her first action day, she was told that there were 66 kids there. This came as a shock, especially because she had only had enough equipment for 30 kids. She reorganized the groups and volunteers, and made it work with the amount of equipment that she had. Another challenge was that the only available space to play basketball during the camp was the parking lot. This was a huge risk, because kids could have fallen and been seriously injured.
To minimize the risk, she altered the activities so that there was no contact in basketball. The kids did dribbling and passing relays instead, which worked out perfectly. It was easy to tell that the favorite activity among the kids was definitely the relays, whether it was soccer, basketball, or running. Molly and her volunteers also emphasized the importance of teamwork to the kids during the activities, so that hopefully, they could carry that skill with them in life, no matter what they are doing.
“There were challenges along the way, but the kids loved every aspect of the camp, so the amazing outcome made all of the hard work worth it.”
– Molly Shapiro
Results of Project
At the end of the three days, Molly was positive that every kid had learned something new, whether it was teamwork, perseverance, or how to play a sport. She was glad that all of her hard work had come to life, and was successful. In all, about 96 hours were spent on Kids in Action, including the hours of the actual camp. There were 6 volunteers that made it happen, and 66 kids who participated. The kids and volunteers formed friendships, and the volunteers served as role models for the kids. Kids in Action was a starting point for the kids to live a more active life now that they know multiple fun, active games.
“I wanted the kids to realize that exercising can be enjoyable, and once I saw them all having fun during the games, I knew that I had achieved this goal.”
– Molly Shapiro
Molly is excited to use her leadership skills in the future. She is going on a leadership and Spanish immersion trip this summer, and is a Habitat for Humanity leader for the upcoming school year. Although she is uncertain about what the future holds for Kids in Action, she is positive that she will continue to lead her community, and help those in need.