By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Andrew Schwenk and his son Max are the latest volunteers to help new Rio-based NGO Samba 360 continue in their mission to supply sports equipment to Rio’s underprivileged youngsters.
Andrew Scwhenk and his son, Max Schwenk, made the trip over from New York with three huge bags filled with over eighty-six jerseys, fifty cleats, forty-six socks, four balls, thirty-five shorts, and fourteen shin-guards.
All of this equipment will be donated to Rio’s underprivileged young people as part of NGO Samba 360. Fifteen-year-old Max is a football (soccer) player at Valencia academy in New York City.
He comments, “Two people who played soccer from my high school were collecting for Samba 360 and I asked them what it was for. When they told me it was for kids in Brazil I thought this could be something really good to do, to give back something from a privileged area where I’m from to the kids in Rio’s underprivileged areas.”
He continues. “The response we got when we posted that we were collecting equipment was amazing. The stuff just came piling in.”
Andrew Schwenk also adds that the size of the charity and its grassroots organization is very appealing, both to them as volunteers and to the people donating. “I think what people like about it is that it’s a small charity.”
“So we have people who literally dropped stuff off on our door a couple days ago now seeing these pictures of us going through the airport with our big bags and then handing out the equipment to the kids and seeing them enjoying using it. It’s really great.” He concludes.
The two share a further Brazilian connection through Max’s mother, who is a carioca. Andrew Schwenk adds, “This was also a great excuse for us to come to Rio. My wife was born and raised here but hasn’t been back for thirty years. So this is a really exciting trip for us.”
After visiting Foz da Iguacu the family are staying in Rio for a few days to distribute the sports equipment and take part in a training session with some of the recipients. “This is just the beginning. We think this will continue on now that we’ve found this connection to Brazil through meeting Shawn Brown at Samba 360.” Andrew Schwenk concludes.