From today’s Warsaw (IN) Times-Union:
|Grace College volleyball team to work with youth in war-torn country|
WINONA LAKE – The Grace College volleyball team is set to become the first athletic team outside of Liberia to enter the nation since its civil war.
The Lady Lancers are embarking on a 13-day trip to Liberia, using the platform of sports ministry to work the youth of the war-torn nation.
The players ate breakfast on campus Tuesday morning and then left for the airport in Chicago. The Lady Lancers will return July 10.
“Our team saw the need in Liberia, and we are excited to partner with them through sports,” said head coach Andria Harshman. “From my understanding, well over half of the nation is considered a youth, so the chance to reach Liberia’s youth and be the first athletic team into the nation is truly an honor.”
The players, along with Harshman and Grace College Provost Bill Katip, will run clinics through Ignite International and the Liberian YMCA, which is the only non-government entity which lasted through a pair of civil wars in Liberia the last two decades.
The Lady Lancers will stay in the capital city of Monrovia, and they are scheduled to meet Liberian government officials such as the vice president, minister of sport and the ambassador of the United States to Liberia.
Harshman and Katip, in cooperation with former U.S. men’s soccer player Doc Lawson of DonamiSport, will speak in workshops to the country’s national sport leadership council regarding how to build sports programs for the development of communities.
“I’ve always had a passion for Africa, so to have this opportunity with my teammates is awesome,” said Grace College junior Stefanie Bolt. “I have no idea what to expect, but I know it’s going to be fun with the girls. They are really excited, and we are confident that this will open the doors for other opportunities.”
Through six months of planning for the trip, Harshman and the team have been donated 12 bags full of items such as volleyballs, basketballs, soccer balls, toothbrushes, t-shirts and dresses for orphans there.
“We’re bringing 12 extra bags but none of those will come back with us,” said Harshman. “We’ve realized how much we have and how little the people in Liberia have. The opportunity for us to put our mindset on serving should really help bond us for a long time.”
Grace will also have the opportunity to train in Liberia. The Lady Lancers are scheduled to play exhibition matches against the University of Liberia and the Liberian National Team during its trip.
The team will post blogs and photos during throughout the trip, which can be found at www.grace.edu/athletics