Two Smithtown residents who coach soccer in Stony Brook left today for Cameroon with a generous donation thanks to the Sachem Youth Soccer League (SYSL).
Cara Nelson and Alexander Mendolia left for the west African nation today--two of just four coaches chosen to make the trip through Rush Soccer organization's REACH program. REACH stands for "Rush Equipment Assisting Children" and now they'll be able to rush even more equipment after the SYSL donated 125 soccer balls, 50 t-shirts, bottles of water and trophies to the children of Cameroon.
It all started when Nelson, who plays in an indoor soccer league, mentioned her trip to a fellow player, Cindy Giarmoleo. Giarmoleo is on the board of the SYSL and two days later brought Nelson's story to the board. The SYSL board immediately cleared the way to send the equipment off with Nelson and the REACH program.
"The league does a lot of donations," Giarmoleo said, mentioning its recent donation to Hurricane Sandy victims through LI Cares. The group has also planned a soccer tournament in May to help fight juvenile diabetes.
"SYSL prides itself on helping those in need and was more than happy to donate what we could," the organization said in a statement.
"I sent emails out to my soccer connections," Nelson stated in an email to Patch. "Cindy went one step further...Sachem basically cleared out their trailer full of balls, water bottles, and trophies. It was a gracious donation that will be well appreciated by the impoverished children we will be working with."
The equipment will be distributed to children in the region of Cameroon Nelson and company will be working in--a place called Bali Nyugen. Three Village Patch, meanwhile, featured Nelson's story in a profile here. Nelson said once the equipment is distributed, she'll send photographs to Sachem Patch.