HIGH 5

Refugee girls building confidence through volleyball

Apr 4, 2018, 7:05 AM | Updated: Apr 18, 2018, 4:02 pm

SOUTH SALT LAKE — At the International Charter School in South Salt Lake, you’ll find a group of kids playing volleyball on any given day. The sport gives these kids the opportunity to be engaged and active.

“You can see them instructing the boys how to pass, set, how to hit. It’s great to see how they’re confident in their own abilities, but they’re confident in instructing others,” International Charter School teacher Chelsea Diem says.

Yes, the boys play too — at least the girls let them. But the refugee volleyball program is for girls.

“Volleyball felt like a safe space where they could pay and not be judged or watched,” Diem says. “So we created that to be the main sport for girls in this area.”

It’s open to any girl who wants to play; there are no tryouts.

Mariam Ibrahim used to play in her native Sudan, but she says she wasn’t that good then.

“People say you have to just try, you have to do it,” she says.

Now, Mariam is one of the team’s best players. A lot of that is hard work, and the girl’s encourage one another.

“I began communicating more with other peers, supporting each other, encouraging each other always. We never laugh at each other, we always help each other out,” says Prodige Kunda, another player.

The program is run through the Refugee Services office, not the school district. It depends on donations and volunteers. That means girls can’t play without the help of people like volunteer coach Rachel Keeney.

Keeney wanted to be a mentor as much as a coach.

“I thought this is perfect! I want to do this!” say says. “I feel drawn to this. I feel like my hours here mean more.”

More coaches are needed, and so are nets, volleyballs, hijabs for the girls to play in.

Thanks to America First, they’ve got $500 to help these girls live a life out of the shadows and feel confident in their new country.

“It’s really nice for them to have that chance, I think, to have that spotlight to shine,” Diem says. “To be the center, the spotlight, the focus.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

High 5

(KSL TV)...
Dan Spindle, KSL TV

HIGH 5: Utah Group Packs Thousands Of Bags To Feed Kids Through Summer Months

There are Utah children who won't go hungry thanks to some caring volunteers with USANA Kids Eat.
12 months ago
Chris Schunk is a special education teacher at Snowcrest Junior High School. (KSL TV)...
Haley Smith, Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

High 5: Special Ed Teacher Treats Students As People First

Students and parents at Snowcrest Junior High couldn’t imagine a day without special education teacher Chris Schunk as they navigated the highs and lows of the last school year in the middle of the pandemic.  
1 year ago
Crossing Guard Verl Creager makes sure to wave at every car, every day. (KSL TV)...
Haley Smith & Matthew Jacobson, KSL TV

High 5: Crossing Guard’s Kind Gesture Brightens Community

Verl Creager is the school crossing guard at Valley Elementary School. Many don't know his name, but they know who he is because of a simple gesture. He makes sure to wave at every car that passes by.
1 year ago
Photo provided by Sticky Chicken...
Dan Spindle & Matthew Jacobson, KSL TV

High 5: Cooking Up Life Lessons That Stick At Sticky Bird

Sticky Bird in Farmington seems like any other fast, casual chicken restaurant, but what happens behind the scenes is the real recipe for a better life. 
1 year ago
(KSL TV)...
Shara Park, KSL TV

High 5: Utahns Step Up To Help Clear The Snow

During the recent winter storms, countless Utahns stepped up to help both neighbors and strangers clear snow.
1 year ago
...
Grant Weyman & Matthew Jacobson, KSL TV

High 5: Grant Elementary Grateful For Attentive Principal

At Grant Elementary School in Murray, there are some very grateful people who appreciate their principal. 
1 year ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Refugee girls building confidence through volleyball