Last month, Maggie was one of 12 teens who participated in a service trip to Coronel Bogodo, Paraguay, with Girls Soccer Worldwide, a non-profit organization founded by her club soccer coach and his wife that seeks to create worldwide awareness for girls’ equality by collaborating with communities through the sport of soccer.
A varsity soccer player since her freshman year at O’Dowd, Maggie went on the service trip so she could spread her love of soccer to others. “These girls haven’t had the privilege of playing soccer. There are no teams for girls in Paraguay, so they just play on their own,” she said. “But they are often discouraged and made fun of when they play.”
In Paraguay, she helped run soccer clinics for girls ranging from 4-20, and helped teach basic English lessons at three middle schools. “It was really an amazing experience getting to know the kids,” she said.
Going into the trip, Maggie understood living conditions in Paraguay were much more primitive than those in the United States. But she found herself unprepared for the gravity of the situation – homes with dirt floors and no indoor bathroom facilities. “It was really shocking. You can’t truly grasp it until you are actually there and see it,” she said. “But the people there are happy despite the lack of things that are normal for us. It was really inspiring.”
Maggie was grateful she had the experience to make a difference in the lives of young girls, and help them see how much they can accomplish as a team that works together.