Spartan Spotlight - WBB Trip to Paraguay

LANGLEY, British Columbia - This spring, the Trinity Western women’s basketball team is Paraguay bound as the Spartans will embark on a two-week trip to the South American country with basketballs in their hands and hearts to serve.

In conjunction with Athletes in Action and SportAid, the team will travel to Paraguay from late April to early May to serve in a variety of capacities through the global language of basketball.

Through well-established connections with AIA and thanks in large part to Spartans women’s soccer coach Graham Roxburgh, Trinity Western has sent soccer and volleyball teams to Paraguay on service trips. However, this will be the first time a TWU basketball team will travel to the sport-loving landlocked nation.

“The sport of basketball is growing in Paraguay,” says Spartans women’s basketball coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “This was a great marriage between their desire to bring in a basketball group and a team that was looking for a way to serve beyond our local community.”

While in Paraguay, the team will, amongst a bevy of other opportunities, help care for kids in orphanages, run basketball clinics and spend time with underprivileged children at local nutrition stations, which are organized by a group called Jesus Responde. The trip will also see the team help with certain service projects, including possibly helping to build a house for a family in need.

“I think it’s good to put things into perspective, especially considering the season we’ve had,” says Spartans first-year player Jenna Bracken. “Life’s not just about wins and losses. It’s important that we can go serve and do these sorts of things, not just for bonding as a team but because, since we are so blessed in our situation, we should be helping others.”

The Spartans are also looking to raise money to set up basketball hoops, or even possibly courts, at these nutrition stations where children come to have a meal and hang out in a positive environment.

“We want to be a program that is based on faith and based on serving others,” Jean-Paul says. “Our team trains hard and works hard and they give everything they have on the court. We’re looking forward to using the skills they have developed in basketball to serve others elsewhere.”

The trip abroad will also give the team a chance to bond as a team while seeing life from a different outlook.

“It really does open up their minds to how you perceive life in general and how you perceive what you’re due and what you earn,” Jean-Paul says. “It’s not just about serving, but it’s also about expanding your mind to how most people in the world live, which is not in privilege.

And for the team, serving in this way is another opportunity to show what it truly means to be a student-athlete at TWU.

“I think this type of trip is important because we should practice what we preach,” says second-year Jamie Andrews-Stobart. “I think we’ll have the chance to spread what we are learning here at Trinity Western.”

Alongside their work within the Paraguayan communities, the team will also have the chance to play a few exhibition games against local teams and possibly Paraguay’s national women’s team.  

So, how can you help make this trip happen?

The Spartans are still looking to raise funds for this trip and any support would be greatly appreciated.

Tonight, the Spartans Foundation will match the first $500 donated through the Champion-A-Team platform.

The team is also collecting sporting gear to bring to Paraguay such as basketball shoes and other equipment, which can be donated by contacting Jean-Paul.

To learn more about the trip or to learn how you can further support the team, contact the Spartan Foundation through its website at www.spartanfoundation.ca or contact coach Cheryl Jean-Paul directly at cheryl.jean-paul@twu.ca.


Last Updated: 2014-01-31
Author: Mark Janzen

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