Hello! Our names are Alexis and Phoebe Papavasiliou, and we are here to share our experience with UKSD! We started UKSD when we were 5 and 7 years old in a run down gym in Osterville, Massachusetts. There were about 4 other kids in the class, who are now very close friends. He introduced himself to us as “Doc”, and that is still what we call him to this day. We have not stopped participating in his clinics and community service projects since. Through this program, we have made many friends and valuable memories. We also met many young women, that we admire and look up to, including Megan Fligg and Maddie Brennan. They would run clinics, and we would hear about their inspiring trips to Dominica, Ohio, Jordan, Kibera, and Florida, hoping one day we too could be apart of such a journey. Now we are happy to say we have come full circle, and we are going on the next trip to Dominica in April.
When we got older, UKSD came up with the “Academy”. This was more like a soccer team, rather than pick up games and clinics. In the Academy we focused on helping our community, building character, and improving our soccer skills. We would have two hour sessions, the first hour we would discuss certain inequalities in the society, and the second hour we would play soccer. As a team we would also participate in community service throughout Barnstable: we helped at a homeless breakfast; we raised money via soccer-thons; and collected canned goods through food drive tournaments. We were also given the opportunity to execute some of our own community service ideas. After hearing about the young women Doc was working with in Kibera, we wanted to connect with them more. With the help of Doc and Flig we were able to make this idea into a reality.
After spending many years participating in the UKSD Academy, we learned the value of community service. At the end of last year we had a meeting about how we would like to continue with UKSD, although we all enjoyed being apart of the Academy, it was difficult to fit into our schedules. As a result the idea of having an after school club came about. When Doc and Fligg asked us to be the President and Vice president of this club we were so excited. Over the summer with Doc and Fligg, we contributed and helped develop the Community Empowerment and Leadership Club. We are now a Junior and Freshman in high school, and a dynamic sister duo. We wanted to create a club where the members can identify issues or inequalities in their community and work together to create an event that will raise awareness about the issue chosen. Members of our club don’t only benefit from the community service hours, they gain valuable experiences and leadership skills. We think that participating in and supporting the community is important, and this club is a great way to show the next generation how fulfilling these experiences can be.