There are so many reasons I enjoy what I do with Best Buddies Philippines. Of course, the biggest reason that I love what I do has to do with the smiles that I see when my Buddies love participating in an activity that we have mounted for them. I also enjoy the camaraderie that I see nurtured through our activities. Other times I am honored to be part of the friendships that have lasting impressions on both parties involved when a great match has been made. And still other times, I realize just how much our community of helpers and advocates is growing, because I get to meet people like Paolo, from Exceptional Sports Philippines.
Paolo and his partner Janett saw the need for children to have a safe place to play. They saw and understood the benefits that were enjoyed by kids with exceptyional abilities when they participated in a combination of football, basketball, fitness, and even martial arts. With this combined athletic approach to coaching children of all abilities, they provide a safe and open atmosphere for kids to come, play, and feel included without the added pressure of performing.
In essence, they meet the child where he/she is in skill and ability without compromising safety and instruction.
As E-Sports evolved, they took their growth and commitment to providing fun and fitness for all abilities by establishing a foundation to raise funds, find committed partners, and scale on impact.
Now, I’m not quite sure if they have actually partnered with our sister organization, Special Olympics yet, but I know it is within their reach to supplement or compliment the sports training that these athletes need in a real and sustainable way.
They do this by training the kids that vary in ages from 5 years old and up, with one on one coaching, that not only inspires and empowers the athletes, but also provides an opportunity for the kids to step outside their comfort zone.
As Anne Chua, mom of Issaac, shares “Not even being a doctor prepares you for your journey as a parent of a child with special needs. When you are handed a diagnosis, it doesn’t end there. In fact, it’s a process where you look for the right treatment or activities for your son, knowing that a special needs certificate or degree will not determine the connections that any coach can have with my son.”
As a parent, I not only appreciate the honesty with which Anne shared parts of herself during the launch of E-Sports, I also appreciated that her kids were there to show me just how much they enjoy the program too.
As a Country Director, I appreciate what Paolo shared when we opened up the table to questions and answers. “I wanna do something that I enjoy, and that makes a difference to people who need it.” His sense of idealism reminded me of myself when I graduated college armed with my teaching degree and wanted to make a difference in the lives of children, hoping to change the world “one student at a time.”
I think that other people can see the passion and purpose behind Exceptional Sports desire to make fitness and fun accessible to all.
This year, as part of BPI Foundation’s, Sinag awards, 20 different foundations will be competing for the opportunity to scale up their impact and their socially based entrepreunial businesses.
Exceptional Sports is part of that prestige list of business that benefited from BPI FOUNDATION benefiting from workshops , mentors and training in the form of experienced professionals sharing tricks and tools of the trade by honing each business’ intellectual, social, and financial capital.
Here are a list of all of the other businesses that are vying for funding:
Auro Chocolate by FODC, Inc
Bila Rural Development Club
Calaboo Dairyland Inc.
Carboncycle Processing Inc.
Got Heart Social Enterprises Inc.
Hilway Art Project/Inday Dolls/Fine Arts Major Organization’s
House of Ekolife Roastery and Café
Junk Not Handicraft
Katutubong Kamay Handicrafts Company
MAD Travel (Make a Difference Travel)
Safer Organic FarmVille
Uproot Urban Farms
Now, I’m not only looking forward to seeing E-Sports take home the coveted cash prize that will enable Paolo and Janett to expand their reach, I am also looking forward to seeing Paolo in action with my Buddies.
But, I will tell you all about that in another post 🙂
Stay tuned for an update on our exciting partnership with Mutya ng Pilipinas!