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Gift of gear from Ontario soccer club

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Gift of gear from Ontario soccer club

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A number of local football teams have benefited from a donation of over 2 500 pieces of gear, and over 1 000 books from the Aurora Youth Soccer Club (AYSC) in Ontario, Canada.
The initiative was facilitated through FreeMind Institute Inc. (FMI) and the charity Neighbour Neighbour, in association with the Barbados Tourism Authority, the office of the Consul General for Barbados at Toronto, and Undene Whittaker, the Government advisor on poverty eradication.
Managing director of FMI and the founder and director of Neighbour Neighbour, Errol Griffith, said the donation of gear, which includes pants, jerseys, socks and footballs, was part of an initiative to build formal and informal relationships between associations and clubs in Canada, Barbados and other countries.
Additionally, it also seeks to gain further exposure for Barbados as a vacation and sporting destination.
Over a two-year period, FMI and Neighbour Neighbour were able to negotiate local prizes for “Barbados Blessing”, a fundraiser organised by AYSC. The  prizes included two airline tickets to Barbados, one week at Settlers Beach Hotel and one car for a week from Courtesy Rent-A-Car. The AYSC was able to raise about CAN$100 000 (BDS$199,426).
“Part of our agreement was that the AYSC would give back to children in Barbados by collecting new and second hand sporting and educational items from their members and club,” Griffith said.
“As a consequence of the relationship established, two Barbadian football clubs have made three tours to Canada in the last two years, and one of the trips, in particular, was significantly supported by the AYSC,” he added.
Griffith also noted that the UnionVille Milliken Soccer Club’s Under-16 girls team visited Barbados in March last year.
“We are in discussion with multiple other clubs and associations about using ‘Barbados Blessing’ prizes, and allocating portions of the funds raised to bring their teams for the Barbados experience,” he said.
Last week Wednesday, Griffith made the presentation of sporting gear to The Rock Christian School at the Empire Sports Club. Other donations have also been made to Dexter’s Brazilian Soccer Academy, the St Andrew’s Lions, teams in St Michael East, South East and West Central; St John, St James North and St Andrew. (PR)