Quigley senior soccer player does her part to help youths in Haiti

| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, 8:55 p.m.

Every year since she was in the fourth grade, Quigley Catholic senior Caitlan Carney has participated in a school service project.

But nothing compares with what she took on this year.

Carney, 18, of Baden organized an equipment drive among her teammates on the Quigley girls' soccer team. More than $1,000 in new and lightly used uniforms and equipment will be sent this month to GOALS Haiti, a nonprofit that uses soccer to teach children in Leogane, Haiti, and surrounding communities about education, community service and other values.

Leogane was the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti. GOALS, which was founded the same year as the quake, is an acronym for Global Outreach and Love of Soccer. It helps more than 600 children a month.

GOALS program officer Jolinda Hackett said that what Carney did was extraordinary. Most donations, she said, come from Boy and Girl Scouts and groups affiliated with the military, bar and bat mitzvahs and colleges, but rarely from high school students.

“(Carney is) exemplary not only in her desire and drive to help others, but also in her global awareness,” Hackett said. “Donated equipment allows us to bring our programs to even more kids and families who can benefit from the soccer, health and education programs we provide.”

Quigley girls' soccer coach Patty Miller credited Carney with developing the idea.

“There are girls who have played soccer since they were 4 years old,” she said. “They have balls, shirts and shin guards that don't wear out and can be easily donated.”

Carney said she learned about GOALS on the Internet.

“It was my first international project,” she said. “I wanted to do something with soccer and children. It's taken a lot of hard work organizing everything, but it's been worth it.”

Carney planned a fundraiser to defray the cost of sending the equipment to GOALS' U.S. headquarters in Sarasota, Fla. GOALS pays for shipping to Haiti.

She will receive a picture showing children playing with the donated items.

Carney stored the equipment in her family's garage, where it shares space with donated coats and winter accessories she collected for an area mission.

“Caitlan has a very caring heart,” Miller said. “You know she's definitely going to do something to alleviate suffering.”

A four-year letter winner, Carney was co-captain of a Quigley team that lost in the first round of the WPIAL Class A playoffs this fall.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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