“Figure out a need and combine it with something you love to do.”
When Rainey Lynch was considering what to do for her Junior Service Project at Episcopal School of Dallas, she reflected on the words of Christi Morrow, the school’s Director of Community Service. The challenge was to put passion to work in order to solve a problem, and as a kid who’s been hitting a volleyball since third grade, Lynch knew the answer was somewhere on the court.
She just didn’t know the court would consist of a net strung up between a column and a play set on a patch of grass in Uganda.
“My mother’s cousin, Robert Fleming, runs the Malayaka House orphanage in Entebbe, Uganda,” says Lynch, who plays for both ESD and Victory Volleyball Club. “Our family has been planning to go there to help out, so I decided I would use the opportunity to set up a court and teach the kids to play.”
Lynch’s idea then blossomed into a three-part mission featuring fundraising, sporting equipment and time spent with the largely elementary age kids. She worked with both ESD and Victory Volleyball to collect equipment, and she reached out to a broad network of family and friends to raise money - almost $20,000 to date.
The 10-day trip last summer included six suitcases stuffed with deflated volleyballs, a net, dozens of t-shirts and more.
“The second we stepped out of the van the kids just crushed us with hugs and welcomes,” she says. “They were so excited about everything we did with them.”
Although Lynch spent much of her time teaching rules and technique to kids more familiar with rugby, she says that she’s the one her learned the most from the trip.
“The experience showed me just how different life is in other parts of the world, and it’s made me so incredibly grateful for the life I’m able to live.”
She’s also found that many of the stories from the trip make their way into her homework assignments and creative writing projects.
“It really did change my perspective on so many things.”
So much so that Lynch will be heading back to Uganda this summer. The kids will surely have the net set up and will be ready to play.
For more information, go to malayakahouse.com. Check updatedallas.com for the latest real estate news. CEO and President Robbie Briggs independently owns and operates Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty.