Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Alex Vitrella spent the last five years studying and working on various community development projects around the world. The majority of her work has focused around education and youth within these communities. In the summer of 2007 all of her adventures and passions found a common path when her nonprofit, Outward Bounce was officially established! Here is her story:
It began in 2006 when I found myself working deep in the Costa Rican rain forest tackling community development issues from a very different angle than I had in the past. I was hired by a wonderful, local family to help in the expansion of their tourism project. It was a fascinating experience to work from the inside out with a very real economic solution which when handled responsibly can provide prolific results. I also began teaching in the village school which served to further connect me to the community. I soon learned that the village leaders had been dreaming of building a basketball court for many years as an effort to provide the youth with healthy activities. I was fortunate enough to join the mayor on a visit to meet with the president’s cabinet to propose this and other projects for the village. It was apparent that the federal government could not help them and so I decided to take the project on. I explained the situation to WNBA player Ann Strother, the sister of my great camp friend Britta Strother, and she was immediately excited about the idea.
Before long Ann and I had the framework for Outward Bounce. Ann wanted to share the positive lessons basketball has taught her with kids all over the world and I wanted to provide an avenue for a variety of community development projects. Understanding that each community around the world has different needs and social dynamics, we have built a flexible model to address each unique community. Our mission is to foster relationships with youth and their communities in impoverished areas around the world by promoting healthy lifestyles through sports and community involvement. Each project will begin with the construction of a basketball court and the hosting of a basketball clinic for the community’s youth. We will continue facilitating numerous basketball clinics, bringing high school, college, and professional players from the United States to work the clinics. Through these clinics we not only generate and support a healthy activity for youth, but also enable understanding between cultural groups in our even globalizing world. Through these ongoing basketball clinics we as an organization, along with the various individuals and teams taking part in each project will establish a personal relationship with each community to successfully cater future projects in these communities to the individual needs of each community. We have already begun working with a donor interested in building a much needed, small medical clinic at our Costa Rica site where we will begin construction of our first court next month!
If you are interested in finding out more about Outward Bounce, donating, or would like to participate in anyway please visit our website at www.outwardbounce.org.