Site Navigation

Tiger Service

Friday, July 13, 2007

Princeton rising junior soccer player Sara Peteraf is spending her summer vacation in Costa Rica, using her two-month stay to teach soccer to local children in the Central American nation. Peteraf, a midfielder majoring in politics, is participating in the community service venture by the Seattle-based Pura Vida Coffee, a company dedicated to using capitalism as a way "to ultimately serve the poor." Forty-five young girls will participate in Peteraf's developmental soccer program, the first of its kind in Pura Vida's eight-year history of operating soccer teams.

"Growing up in a suburb of Chicago, I started playing soccer when I was five. I had spent three years waiting to be as old as my brother was when he started playing, so I could be just like him. Often, the younger child dreams of following in the elder’s footsteps, but after that initial longing, I began to forge my own path. As my brother moved on to other activities, I stuck with soccer, playing first for recreational teams and then graduating to various travel and club teams. After moving to Hanover, NH in 8th grade, I began to devote more and more time to soccer, slowly discarding other sports that I had previously played. Now, playing outside midfield on the women’s soccer team, I am a sophomore at Princeton University, majoring in Politics. It is truly thrilling to learn that the sport that you love can positively impact the world. I am very excited to live and work in Central America this summer," stated Sarah on the Pura Vida Blog.

During her stay, Peteraf will be contributing to the Pura Vida blog, which can be accessed here.

Another group of Princeton athletes were able to give back with an international flair — this time in Argentina — as members of the field hockey team visited a Buenos Aires school, where they helped students practice English before giving a hockey clinic.

Courtesy of Princeton Athletic Communications

Argentina: Day 3

After wandering around Buenos Aires, a group of us arrived at a shopping mall where we spent a couple hours exploring the Argentine stores. We then enjoyed a light Italian lunch at a local restaurant, La Strada Recoleta, before boarding the bus to travel to a school for underprivileged children outside of the city.

At the school, which has about 2,500 students from ages 4-17, we were divided into two groups: one group taught hockey skills to 12 year old girls, while the other group visited several English classrooms, helping them practice their English. In the hockey group, though only a few Tigers knew Spanish, we were able to teach the kids how to dribble, pass, and play various games. The other group was a little intimidated at first because we thought the children knew almost no English. We soon discovered, however, that the kids spoke English better than any of us spoke Spanish, and they entertained us with questions, songs, and poems. Though rather shy at first, all of the children were adorable, constantly asking questions with huge smiles on their faces.

We ended our visit at the school with a hockey clinic for a group of 30 girls. For those of us with extremely limited Spanish vocabulary, we discovered that teaching field hockey was quite the challenge. However, the girls were very patient with us, and tried their best to follow our “Spanglish.” We were so sad to leave them, but we exchanged email addresses, so hopefully we’ll keep in touch.

After leaving the school, we traveled to the club where we would play our second match, against CASI Hockey Club, that evening. Before the match, we were warned that this team would be much stronger and more physical than last night’s team, to whom we lost 7-1. With high hopes, we took the field in the freezing night. After a back and forth match, we played considerably better than the night before, and finished the match with a 3-2 final score (we lost).

We then proceeded to exchange any extra clothing we had with the girls on the other team- a few of us were ready to exchange all of our Princeton gear for their uniforms. They quickly snatched up our “beloved” neon orange FINISH shirts, which we were happy to give away. We ended our visit at the club with a tailgate, where we mingled with the girls over empanadas and pizza. We learned that, like us, we have a shared interest in Jack Johnson and phenomenal dancing. Our evening finished with a Princeton field hockey tradition, karaoke on the bus, where we even succeeded in getting our coaches to sing their version of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.” We don’t think we’ll ever feel the same about that song again. And then it was off to bed, as we are departing at 6:45 a.m., for Uruguay.