You can win all the games, trophies, and championships you want, but sometimes it doesn't mean nearly as much as what you do for those in need.

That's a lesson that one Lafayette Parish soccer coach wants his team to learn.

"We get all caught up in wanting the newest and nicest things," said Derek Menard, head coach of the boys' soccer program at David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy. "But it's a special feeling to be able to help out a group in need."

And that's exactly what he did when his team donated a set of soccer uniforms to Respire Haiti, an organization that sets out to "encourage, educate and empower restaveks (children in Haiti given away by their parents to work for a host household as a domestic servant), orphans and vulnerable children." The organization received the donation and couldn't wait to share a team picture of some of their kids wearing the Bulldogs' blue jerseys.

"Thank you to Coach Menard and the David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy soccer team for donating these jerseys," the group posted on Facebook. "Our team wore them proud at this year's Haitian Flag Day soccer tournament."

"We are so grateful for donations like these," they added. "Not only do they allow our teams to look awesome, but they connect communities, no matter how many miles away!"

Menard has built a solid program at DTSMA, which has made several playoff appearances in recent years, and his athletes routinely receive recognition for their performances on and off the field. And now, they are getting recognized for their charitable work, too.

A picture of David Thibodaux STEM Bulldogs coach Derek Menard before a game.
Credit: Hoai Hoang/Facebook

"I think it's good for our guys to see that it doesn't take much to make a difference," he said about the donation to Respire Haiti. "I know that we were all so happy to see our things being put to such great use."

Want to Donate?

Respire Haiti, which raises money through donations and student sponsorships, is always looking for folks who can help out. If you want to make a monetary donation, you can do so here. If you want to sponsor a student, you can do so here.

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