When presented with the assignment of “Managing Change” in their management and quantitative methods class, Austin Smith, Chase Breeden, Wes Taupin, Lauren Sroka and Katy Sotiroff chose to partner with Hoops for Haiti and the ISU men’s basketball team to donate basketball equipment to Haitian children.
Already a member of the not-for-profit organization Hoops for Haiti, Smith was able to lead his team in its efforts to collect sports equipment to be donated to the children of Haiti.
“It’s just a good thing to do,” Smith said of participating in Hoops for Haiti. “The message of Hoops for Haiti is to bring love and hope through basketball … and my group members were all on board with that.”
Hoops for Haiti was inspired by Sarah Aubry, a former college soccer player, who traveled to Haiti and organized soccer camps for the children there. Aubry encouraged her husband, Mark, a former college basketball player, to get involved as well, which led to the formation of a basketball camp consisting of over 1,000 boys and girls.
The first official Hoops for Haiti trip was in March of 2010 and there have been several trips since then. On each trip, team members ask for used basketball equipment to be donated so that the children of Haiti can experience the joys of the game.
With the help of the Student Recreation Center, Smith and his group were able to set up a donation box where students can donate equipment to be shipped to Haiti at the end of the semester.
“There are students out there who do care,” Smith said. “We have gotten some amazing donations from people and it shows that there are people who are willing to get involved.”
In addition to raising awareness for their project and Hoops for Haiti through the Student Recreation Center and Her Campus, an online community for college women, Smith’s group has been working with the ISU men’s basketball team to create an inspirational video to be included with its donation.
“We did interviews with different basketball players, some transfer students, some international students, about their stories and how they made it to ISU,” Smith said. “It’s just to show kids in Haiti to follow your dreams.”
One main goal of the project is to bring awareness to the students of ISU about the situations in less fortunate countries such as Haiti.
“We are a very select few and we are privileged in a way that nobody knows until you go out and see the world,” Smith said. “So what we’re trying to do is raise that awareness that there are people out there who need help and this is a great way for students to do their part.”