Knowing firsthand the impact physical education can have, Adrian Grew was taken aback when he learned there are children around the world going without that critical aspect of learning.
The fourth-year Concurrent Education student has since committed himself to making a difference, aiming to introduce physical education in the Siaya district of Kenya, where his family has ties.
“I’ve always wanted to make a positive change in some way when I finish at Brock,” said Grew, who has been working throughout the term to fundraise for his cause.
“At the Ramula Mixed Secondary School, there is no formal physical education program and all of the sports are male-oriented. I want to create opportunities for these boys and girls to participate in and develop a love for sport.”
As a lifelong basketball fan, Grew, a Kingston, Ont., native, learned the positive benefit of sport and became determined to share that impact with others.
In the spring of 2018, Grew will travel to the Kenyan secondary school, where he will spend three weeks volunteering and introducing a sports program to students.
To raise funds to buy sports equipment for the overseas initiative, he has been selling beaded jewelry on campus throughout the term.
“People have likely seen me in the hallway every Thursday afternoon outside of the Computer Commons, selling beaded necklaces and bracelets made by Ugandan women,” Grew said.
The beads, brought back from Africa by Grew’s mother, are created by women in the community as a means to support their families.
Each colourful bead is a long triangular piece of paper, rolled up and sealed with a resin to maintain its shape.
“By making a purchase, you are supporting two communities — the Ugandan women who make the jewelry and the children at the Ramula school who will benefit from the equipment purchased for them,” Grew said.
His travel to Africa and accommodations are being paid for from his personal savings, earned by refereeing basketball for intramural teams and working at a summer sports camp for the City of Kingston.
“I have been planning on volunteering in this way for some time now. All of the proceeds go into a GoFundMe account dedicated to giving back to this community,” he said.
Grew first visited Kenya more than 10 years ago, while travelling with his family. He credits his mother, an elementary school teacher and volunteer of CanAssist, a Canadian charity dedicated to infrastructure development in East Africa, for inspiring him to help others.
Even though Grew is not scheduled to depart for a year, the Kenyan community has already expressed enthusiasm in anticipation of his arrival.
“On behalf of Ramula Secondary School, Nyanza province Kenya and the St. Catherine early childhood community school, we are looking forward to Adrian Grew’s visit to this community,” said CanAssistAfrican Relief Trust Kenyan field representative Daniel Oduor Otieno.
“It is our hope that students will be able to learn and work with him in the areas of his interest, which are basketball, physical education and mathematics.”
It’s not just the students Grew hopes will share in his understanding of the importance of physical education and the opportunities and lessons learned through sport.
“As a future educator, I believe it’s important to develop programming that is sustainable,” he said. “To do this, I need to get the teachers and community leaders engaged to ensure the program we develop continues after I leave.”
Beaded necklaces and bracelets can be purchased April 6 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. outside of the Computer Commons.
Donations can be made online on Grew’s GoFundMe page.