by Wendy Moore, assistant sports information director
On Saturday, May 4, Trinity International University Men’s and Women’s Soccer spent their final team activity of the year serving the local community and sharing their love of the game with youth from North Chicago.
Freshmen Nikki Post said that they spent time “teaching the kids about the NAIA Champions of Character Core Values, what those values look like in everyday life, and just letting them know they are loved.”
“I can’t think of a better way to end our year than serving the Lord by loving on these kids,” Post added.
The North Chicago community is about 15 miles from Trinity’s campus, but the two worlds could not be more different. Trinity is located in affluent Bannockburn, Illinois, surrounded by major business corporations, strong school districts, and upper class neighborhoods. A twenty-minutes drive north, however, reveals an under-resourced community that at one time was called a “food desert.” Many of the youth from North Chicago have faced difficulties beyond their years.
Trinity’s soccer players organized the day in its entirety—from games and activity stations to how they would greet the kids the minute they stepped off the bus. The five NAIA Core Values of Sportsmanship, Respect, Servant Leadership, Integrity, and Responsibility were integrated into the different activities throughout the day. One TIU Men’s Player and Women’s Player would be at each station to speak on a specific core value and interact with the youth on how they could apply it to their lives. The core values would also be strategically woven into the activity and then talked about after each game. The remaining soccer players who did not take part in this facilitation were divided into teams and each of them selected a few boys and girls that they would then be intentionally spending time with throughout the day.
“I hung with a kid named Marson all day,” Trinity Junior Greg Navitsky said. “We had so much fun! His joy and love for the atmosphere was electric. At each station we did a handshake that we came up with, and he also asked me to give him piggyback rides to all the stations. It reminded me of how the love of Jesus Christ loves to be present with us and how he never grows tired, weak, or weary.”
After two hours of fun, fellowship, and learning, the day came to a close with a pizza party.
Trinity Men’s and Women’s Soccer Head Coach Patrick Gilliam said that he is “extremely proud of both our small group leaders and our two teams for their planning in the weeks leading up to the event and their investment in the youth of North Chicago. As is often the case, I think we were the ones who were more blessed by what took place.”
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