When presented with the opportunity to travel to Ghana this past summer to volunteer at a youth tennis camp, Aquinas senior Bernard Alexander didn’t hesitate to get on the plane.
Bernard’s father, Abraham Steiner, an educator in the Rochester City School District and a native Ghanaian, organizes the trip to Accra, Ghana each year – bringing with him fellow educators, community members, philanthropists and this year, his son Bernard. The two-week long tennis camp is a free program meant to positively engage Ghanaian children who come from underprivileged communities.
Bernard and his father work specifically with the St. Francis Foundation, a Catholic Youth Organization that makes the camp accessible to children who would not otherwise be able to afford it. Prior to their trip, they gathered and shipped tennis balls, tennis racquets and clothing that they were able to distribute to camp participants upon their arrival. “The camp is a really big deal for many of the kids,” said Bernard.
“The last three days of it they run a tournament with a cash prize of $20,000 GCD [$1,000 USD] that the winner can use for scholarship. “I think the children here don’t see how good they have it sometimes,” remarked Steiner.
“I wanted him to see poverty in Africa and how out of that, children are doing well through sports and in other areas – give him another view of the world.” “Because it’s universal, tennis was how I connected with the kids at the camp.,” Bernard stated.”
(Excerpted from the Aquinas Landmark Magazine Spring 2018 edition)