Volunteer chiros give 25,000 kids a sporting chance
By Canadian Chiropractor staffFeatures Leadership Profession
Many of the doctors and volunteers who attend chiropractic mission trips abroad and briefly leave their comfortable lives in North America discover that the needs of the people they serve are far greater and more desperate than they realized. This has certainly been the case for thousands of volunteers who have been traveling to the Dominican Republic, one of the regular international countries ChiroMission serves.
ChiroMission is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Forest Lake, Minn., that has been conducting outreach in poor communities since 2001. It is also dedicated to providing, teaching and spreading the good news about chiropractic to the world, helping improve health outcomes in communities.
Last September ChiroMission teamed up with Dreamweaver International’s Gear for Goals sports project to bring the largest, single delivery of baseball equipment to the Antero Mota Baseball League in Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic.
The goal of the project was to bring 1,000 lbs. of new and used sports equipment, which participating doctors collected from their patients. The sports gears were provided to the baseball program during a planned tournament that ChiroMission, Gear for Goals and Antero Mota hosted together.
Dreamweaver’s executive director Dr. Warren Bruhl wanted to add to this outreach to see if ChiroMission could help Antero Mota build a bathroom on their baseball field. For over four decades, the local baseball program has struggled to just supply enough equipment for the youth to fuel their baseball dreams of stardom, and has been unable to organize and collect enough money to build a restroom for players and spectators. As a result, some of the players end up literally urinating on the wall or in a ditch at the corner of the baseball fields.
Bruhl and ChiroMission leaders, Dr. Jason Gerard and Jeff Cobelli, wanted to try something new and see if they could help them solve this problem. They asked the local coaches to price the donated equipment for sale and then offer it to parents and other coaches. In turn, all the money raised would be donated back to the Antero Mota program to build the bathroom.
Not only did the community respond, they were thankful to be able to purchase the baseball equipment in lieu of receiving it for free. They appreciated the partnership to co-create a way they could build the bathroom and give their youth the equipment required to fuel their talent.
In just one day, chiropractors and coaches raised more money than was ever raised in 30 years combined.
Since 2012, Bruhl, a Chicago area chiropractor, has been executive director for Dreamweaver International and the leader for the charity’s sport project Gear for Goals. The mission of Gear for Goals is to bring hope and opportunity to the one billion children living in poverty around the world. One out of every two children still lives in poverty. Their opportunity for an education and meaningful purpose is often bleak. But hope is tangible and there are some signs of positive change, especially when sports development is part of the programming.
Working with compassionate partner charities, churches and volunteers, Gear for Goals has provided sports gear to over 550,000 children in 30 countries. Gear for Goals and ChiroMission have been teaming up over the past four years and helping nearly 50,000 children in the Dominican Republic alone.
ChiroMission president, Dr. Jason Gerard, appreciates the value of a partnership and recognizes the needs of the people are immense. When we can come together with other charities and local leaders, we have a much better chance of making lasting change for the community, he said.
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