While it’s easy to make excuses as to why you don’t have enough time to volunteer or do charity-work for one badger, it was just a defining inspirational experience.
“Before I got into Brock, I travelled outside of Canadian borders and I saw how life is outside of North America (and Europe),” said Adham Shama, President of the Playmakers club at Brock. “We are so privileged to be here and life here is so much better than other countries. I wanted to start something and make a difference.”
Shama walked into a summer school class in the year 2013 and brought the idea of Playmakers to his classmates, which included Matt Burnside, who is now a Vice President for Playmakers. Emina Kapo, Vice President of Finance and Admin of Playmakers met with Shama — and after a discussion over lunch — Kapo saw Shama’s vision and goal of the organization. An organization that started with only ten members has since grown to a 75 member club. After being ratified in 2013, Playmakers was also named Best New Club at the BUSU Clubs Award that year.
“There were ten of us and we would meet in market,” said Kapo. “We were just trying to work with what we had to get this going… I couldn’t believe how fast the club has grown.”
Playmakers is an organization that sets up different sporting tournaments throughout the year at Brock. Each team has a set fee per player to pay, and all proceeds go to a specific charity.
“Prior to our tournaments we try to find an initiative. Some type of organization that we can help, whether it be local or global,” said Burnside.
“The end goal is so serious, but we have so much fun doing it,” said Kapo.
After their first year of only hosting two events, Playmakers has continued to grow yearly on the amount of events they host. Tournaments they have hosted include dodgeball, soccer, volleyball and basketball. Their first tournament was held on February 6, 2014 as they had a great turnout for dodgeball, which led to a volleyball tournament only a month later.
After the first tournament, Playmakers went to the Boys and Girls Club and bought all new equipment. “Seeing their faces just getting to play with brand new stuff was an amazing feeling,” said Burnside.
“We have been successful getting 12-18 teams to tournaments, but because we don’t have that number right away, that can be a challenge,” said Burnside.
As much as Playmakers has grown over the last three years, they’ve encountered many challenges. Some challenges have ranged from late student sign-ups to facility times available at Brock. Their biggest challenge has been going through the long process of applying for things needed to make a tournament successful. It’s been clear that Playmakers has overcome all these challenges and become a success.
Playmakers is not only a Brock club that helps other organizations around the world, they have also helped students within the school.
“We have a member, she was a first year last year,” said Kapo. “She came out to our soccer tournament because her friend invited her. She was one of those shy people and she didn’t know what to do being in a new environment – not knowing how to reach out to people. To this day she goes around telling people how Playmakers got her to open up.”
“This is my last year at Brock, and my goal is not to let Playmakers end here,” said Shama. “We are looking to expand this year. Going to other universities and telling them what Playmakers is about. We want to go to high schools and middle schools. The whole concept is to provide play for kids who are less privileged, if it’s here in Canada or somewhere around the world.”
Playmakers has not only helped out with the Boys and Girls Club, they’ve also travelled to Jordan, Mali, Uganda, Lebanon, Cameroon and more. Locally, they gave money to special Olympians around the Niagara region to help them train and go to the Olympics. Playmakers also played a major role in last year’s “Do it for Doczy” campaign held by the Brock men’s hockey team.
This year, Playmakers have plans to host soccer, basketball, volleyball and dodgeball tournaments. They will also have flag football, with hopes for the championship game to be played on Alumni Field under the lights. There are also plans for a karaoke event at Isaac’s.
For more information you can visit Playmakers Facebook page facebook.com/playmakersfoundation or their Instagram – instagram.com/playmakersfoundation or send them an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org