The Nicaragua Project was founded in 2014 by Sam Bensley (Rutgers, Alpha Psi ’15) during his sophomore year of college. After 10 trips to Nicaragua doing service work, Bensley gained a desire to give back to the people. While playing soccer and baseball with the residents in San Juan del Sur, he realized the significance sports, as well as a lack of quality soccer balls and baseballs, had on the Nicaraguan people.

Before his next trip, he started collecting sporting equipment. After a few newspaper articles highlighted his mission, an influx of donations started coming in totaling thousands of soccer balls, baseball equipment, athletic jerseys and more.

In January 2015, his team of four volunteers and their sporting goods landed in Nicaragua. Through a partnership with Comunidad Connect of San Juan del Sur, The Nicaragua Project was able to provide their community with donations of jerseys, baseball mitts, and soccer balls for the local recreational program.

Each year, Alpha Psi Chapter members partner with the Peace Corps to host sports-oriented educational camps that teach the importance of teamwork, communication, gender equality and leadership. After their visits, they donate enough sporting equipment to sustain the community’s athletic needs for years to come, which in turn fosters a healthy and positive environment for the youth.

Before they ever leave the United States, members volunteer at athletic tournaments where they collect equipment donations and speak about the benefits of philanthropy through Greek life.

This January, The Nicaragua Project wanted to take things a step further. They expanded their camp to two locations and the chapter sent 18 volunteers who donated nearly 1,000 pounds of equipment.

“The experience with SOMOS was humbling and one that will stay with me forever,” said Andrew Downey ’14. “It was extremely gratifying to see the smiling faces of over 100 Nicaraguan children as they played with soccer balls that we donated. This is when I truly understood the impact we were making. I will never forget my time in Nicaragua.”

To learn more about how you can get your chapter involved, visit Somosthenicaraguaproject.org, follow them on Instagram @thenicaraguaproject, or email Somosthenicaraguaproject@gmail.com.