“I was informed that the children in Haiti absolutely love to play soccer but lack the necessary equipment,” Zach Wellwerts says.
Wellwerts, a 17-year-old from McHenry, Ill., organized a Passback collection at the Libertyville Cup, held by the Greater Libertyville Soccer Association (GLSA) earlier this summer. Over a three-day collection period, he received 300 pieces of equipment.
The gear went to Indian Hill Bible Church, which has a mission in Haiti. “I traded emails with Mr. Pilipauskas, my contact at the church,” Wellwerts says. “He said that the last time he went to Haiti, the field used bamboo posts as goals, so I decided that the proceeds from my collection would go to them.
“After the collection, I dropped the items off at his home, and he promised to send me back pictures once the church went back down to Haiti in the spring of 2010. I am very glad to have found such a worthy cause to donate the gear to!”
Of the 300 items that will go to Haiti next spring, Wellwerts credits Dylan Utterback for his above-and-beyond contributions.
Utterback, who learned about the collection through Wellwert’s advertising, told his friends to give him new and gently used soccer equipment for his 10-year-old birthday party, rather than giving him presents. Utterback then took that gear and donated it to the Passback bins at the Libertyville Cup.
“I had no connection to Dylan before the tournament. I’m not sure what motivated him to participate in my collection, but it was certainly an extremely charitable gesture on his part. I can’t thank him enough,” said Wellwerts.
Utterback’s efforts amassed two huge cardboard boxes of items, totaling 83 pieces of equipment.
In preparation for the collection, Wellwerts posted an ad on the GLSA website to announce the event and sent emails out to all the participating teams.
After the prep work, Wellwerts said the three-day collection period went very smoothly, “Thanks to the awesome publicity Mr. Zovistoski – the tournament director – provided me with, all I had to do was check in at the scorer’s tent periodically to see how the bins we had left there were doing.
“It definitely was a pleasant shock to see a couple of large cardboard boxes full of items stacked next to the overflowing bins!”
Thanks to Passback Stars like Wellwerts, kids across the globe are able to play the game of soccer. Visit Passback.org for more information. Share the Equipment, Share the Game.