Helping Kids In Underserved Communities
Name: Phil Hill
Profession: Executive Director of Soccer in the Streets
Location: Atlanta, GA
Customer since: 2017
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically exacerbated the needs of kids living in underserved communities. Phil Hill, Executive Director of Atlanta-based non-profit Soccer in the Streets, explains how his organization had to swiftly shift its focus during the pandemic to adapt to the needs of the kids it serves.
We are extremely proud to call Phil a friend (and customer) and appreciate his tireless work in the community. He is a true inspiration to all of us at Cobbler Union.
To learn more about Soccer in the Streets' mission or to get involved as a volunteer or sponsor, click HERE.
Phil, you run an amazing non-profit to provide better opportunities for kids living in underserved communities. This pandemic has obviously augmented the challenges many of these kids face on a daily basis. Organizations like yours are more important than ever.
How would you describe what you've experienced over the past four months?
Phil H: "Initially families had concerns over securing food and groceries. The online education solution is bad for low income families. Kids are often in cramped living conditions, have poor/non-existing technology, and often uninvolved parents (either because they're working or not motivated)."
How has the pandemic affected you personally and professionally?
PH: "The pandemic impacted me harder on a professional level. Trying to get funding to keep staff and coaches employed is hard. Not being able to deliver our core service of soccer has challenged us to pivot into grocery and food delivery plus online education support. So, far this has gone well!"
At which point since the pandemic unfolded did you realize you had to take charge and reinvent yourself? What changes were you forced to make?
PH: "We had to make changes from the very start when we had to suspend play. We surveyed our families and pivoted into new areas of community support ie food/grocery delivery and education support."
Now, 4 months in, what are you doing differently or better to make sure you come out on top once the pandemic ends?
PH: "We're realizing that we have a trusted role in the community far beyond soccer. Families have been grateful for the support projects we launched early on."
If you had to give our customers who has been in a bit of a funk or a bit depressed, or anyone else for that matter, any advice to get 'back in the game', what would it be?
PH: "Don't isolate emotionally. Engage with others. There are so many people in a bad position, talking, and coming up with shared solutions keeps you in the game."
What are you most optimistic about right now?
PH: "This will end and we will be stronger on the other side (even if we have a mess to clean up first)."