Gallaudet volunteers led by head athletic trainer Jon Vaughan set to arrive in Guatemala to help deaf youth
WASHINGTON, D.C. - From June 25 to July 3, head athletic trainer Jon Vaughan and a small group of Gallaudet University students, alumni and employees will make a trip to Guatemala to participate in a week-long soccer camp for underprivileged deaf and hearing children. In primary association with Champions in Action and Las Voces del Silencio (LAVOSI), the group will provide both the labor and companionship needed to create a successful camping experience.
“We are the backbone of the camp,” said Vaughan. “Our goal is to follow their indigenous model, but we will serve food, do laundry, set up different productions, stretch kids before drills, provide water and set up for the different drills.”
In order to attend, each GU volunteer must raise $1,200; $1,000 is used to pay travel expenses while $200 covers the cost of attendance for one camper plus the option of one year of activities with a mentor for free. The volunteers have been raising the money through outside sponsorships from family donations to dessert auctions. This past June, they hosted a charity soccer tournament in order to meet their goal.
While the group is small, Vaughan hopes it will be the beginning of a long-term partnership for Gallaudet. “With the recent Guatemalan civil war, a lot of fathers were lost,” said Vaughan. “We feel like we are filling a very visible need – especially within the Deaf community. A lot of these kids are getting picked up off the street.”
“I am very excited to go with Gallaudet students because of the life change that is possible in their lives and the relationships they will have with one another,” said Vaughan. “Even though you go into something like this trying to help other people, you usually end up getting more out of it than they do.”