Cricket Live Foundation bowls boys over
03 Feb 2018
The Cricket Live Foundation, created by Old Boy Alex Reese in 2013, is changing more than just the lives of those lucky children selected to participate at its cricket centres.
Four College students have also had life changing experiences since volunteering with CLF in Sri Lanka for two weeks last December.
Sam Blake, Gus Coates, Finbar Gallaway, Max Heywood, and Tim Boyle from Christchurch Boys’ High School, in the company of Assistant Principal Neil Porter, immersed themselves in the Foundation’s work, running practice sessions, helping run end-of-year tournaments and organizing the prize-giving ceremonies for the children.
The group spent most of its time in Moratuwa just south of the capital, Colombo, where the CLF runs three cricket centres.
The CLF centres are located at schools in poorer areas and provide opportunities for disadvantaged children. Cricket is the vehicle through which the boys and girls are given life skills training and academic support – all dependent on regular attendance at school.
“These children would have no access to formal cricket matches and teams if it wasn’t for the CLF, something that seems criminal in cricket-mad Sri Lanka,” says Neil Porter.
“While in Moratuwa, the volunteers helped to put on a week-long tournament which included a finals’ day for 300 children. They interacted with the boys and girls through coaching sessions and fun activities. A very special afternoon was spent visiting some of the youngsters’ homes in the slums and meeting their families. The students formed wonderful relationships with the youngsters in spite of the language barrier. A bat, a ball and plenty of smiles can achieve a great deal.”
Year 13 student and cricket player Sam Blake said going to a remote, rural centre at Siyambalanduwa, on the eastern side of the country was one of his best memories.
“It was a new centre with around 100 boys, aged from 8-12 years. There was definitely some real talent there and they wouldn’t have realised they even had it, without the Cricket Live Foundation.
“The time in Sri Lanka with the CLF has given me a totally new perspective, and I want to help fundraise for it and see the foundation grow. This organization is changing young people’s lives in such a positive way.”
Sam, who was in Sri Lanka on his second volunteering stint, says all the boys had life changing experiences – from culture shock to struggling with spicy foods – and had their eyes opened to life lived in very different circumstances to their own.
College already has a strong connection with the CLF and will actively support the charity through the 2018 Lent appeal.