Big Hearts in the Big Country: Two Women Sharing Passion to Motivate Children

Published 07/10 2014 10:23PM

Updated 07/10 2014 10:39PM

It's a place of worship, where members of the South Side Baptist Church show up often in their Sunday best. But, during the week in the summer, it's shorts and sneakers for sports ministry camp.

"We started just meeting out in the parking lot once a week my senior year of college. Soccer balls, basketball, neighborhood kids coming. We just started playing sports and getting to know each other," says Chelsea Smith, an employee for Base Sports Ministry.

Smith was a volunteer back then, "It would've been nice to get something, a stipend, yeah of course, I was a college student. But, it was so much more worth it to build these relationships with the kids."

Now three years later, Smith has turned her passion into a career, "Currently, I work for an organization called base sports ministry."

She travels to churches teaching how to use sports to reach children. This time around she's back at her home church where new volunteers are keeping her mission alive.

"I think a big thing for me is a sense of community. I have a real passion for the kiddos so that's just as fun of a vacation for me as coming in and hanging out with them. I just love it," says Sarah Wood, a volunteer.

Wood is a student at Hardin-Simmons University. Instead of vacationing, she is spending her second summer volunteering, "A lot of the times, I'm the one that's rewarded. These kids, it pays off for me. You know, like they teach me how to love more, how to be more patient, how to be more persistent. It all works out for me. I learn so much from them at the end of the day."

It's not all about athleticism. In between physical activity, they host bible lessons. Together, Chelsea and Sarah are paving the way to a bright future for these youngsters.

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