College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Street soccer helps fund student literacy for underprivileged children

This story was originally published by Anthony Weiland with the Iowa State Daily

Reading this sentence is impossible for 250 million children, according to the Pencils of Promise website. Pencils of Promise is working to decrease that number and has introduced an opportunity to Iowa State.

The 3-on-3 street soccer tournament that took place at the basketball courts east of Beyer Hall is an event that was created by Pencils of Promise at ISU. The organization’s goal is to raise $2,000 toward building a school to educate underprivileged children in Ghana, Africa.

Pencils of Promise is an organization that was founded by then-college student Adam Braun that focuses on educating the underprivileged children of the world. Pencils of Promise builds schools, provides reading materials and teacher support and coaching. The organization has built more than 300 schools in Ghana, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Laos, impacting more than 33,000 students.

But it don’t just build the school. Pencils of Promise makes a point to monitor and evaluate every school to ensure the schools are fully operational and educating daily.

Pencils of Promise is not only teaching children reading, writing and math skills but also knowledge about water, sanitation and hygiene. Knowing these basic skills can decrease the number of children affected by preventable illness.

ISU students take great pride and passion in being able to contribute to a cause that benefits others.

“I just want to thank Steven Way, [president and founder of Pencils of Promise at ISU], for all his hard work and dedication in coming up with all the ideas to raise money and the passion he exerts in planning and executing, especially the street soccer tournament,” said Dina Rocio Aviles, senior in industrial engineering and treasurer and co-founder of Pencils of Promise at ISU.

The ISU organization had 12 teams sign up and participate in this year’s street soccer tournament, which took place Saturday and Sunday. Aviles said the event was a success. The organization’s members hope to make this tournament an annual event, but bigger and better in the future.

Because of a generous donation of all of the supplies needed to build the street soccer enclosure from Central States Roofing, the organization put all of the event registration fees toward its $2,000 goal.

The organization was able to raise $800 from the tournament. Soccer is just one of many ways it hopes to raise money to support the cause of education.

“We also want to do a black light zumba session,” Aviles said, adding that such an event would help the organization achieve its overall goal of $25,000 to build a school and make its club more known on campus.

It isn’t just the children who use the schools who benefit. Aviles said it’s rewarding for the members of the organization to know they are “making a change in the world” and able to provide an opportunity that she has been fortunate enough to have.

Because of a lack of signups, the street soccer sudden death tournament has been cancelled. But if students want to rent out the street soccer structure they can contact All proceeds will go toward building a school in Ghana.

More than 40 sponsors are covering the organization’s operational costs, and all online donations go toward building more schools.