Bhutan Joins the Kick For Nick Family

 

While home on leave in 2006 after his first stint in Iraq, PFC Nicholas Madaras collected footballs to distribute to Iraqi children near his stationed post. Unfortunately, Nick passed after being in contact with an IED on September 3, 2006.

Nick was never able to give the balls to the children himself. Instead, a party of good Samaritans led by Nick’s mother, Shalini, have taken up a crusade on his behalf to fulfill his dream.

Fostering goodwill and peace through a dream to deliver footballs.

Fostering goodwill and peace through a dream to deliver footballs.

In memory of Nick, Kick For Nick continues to spread goodwill and peace through the sport of football by delivering footballs to children around the world. In October of 2014, MyBhutan was proud to have the opportunity to work with Kick For Nick Foundation to share Nick’s love with the kids in the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Genuine smiles for Nick.

Genuine smiles for Nick.

Immediately after landing in Bhutan, Shalini seemed to have already been absorbed by the spiritual beauty that emanates all throughout Bhutan’s valleys. “The spirituality is everywhere”, Shalini said. “In the people, the history, culture…you see so much beauty. But the one thing that struck me most, even when flying into Bhutan, one sees prayer flags everywhere. To me, the flags represent a sharing of peace, kindness, generosity, compassion and all of the things that make this country so wonderful, great, and unique.

And in that same spirit, a football is Nick’s prayer flag.

That is his way of promoting peace, kindness, generosity and, mostly, hope for all of us to form as friends and family. I am sure Nick is smiling and happy to see this friendship develop with children of Bhutan.”

Prayer flags over Paro Valley.

Prayer flags over Paro Valley.

Bhutan has become the 19th country to join the Kick For Nick family. As the family continues to grow, children around the world are not only receiving footballs but also learning the valuable lessons that Nicholas Madaras continues to preach far beyond his living years.

Spreading the message of peace and harmony.

Spreading the message of peace and harmony.

Matthew DeSantis, MyBhutan’s Founder and CEO, added “We were delighted to learn that the Kick For Nick Foundation has donated over 40,000 footballs worldwide to date. With their contribution of over 100 footballs and 150 jerseys to ten schools in two of our districts, we are pleased to be involved in such a heartfelt initiative and we are very happy to have supported Kick For Nick’s generous efforts to bring smiles to children in Bhutan. Welcoming Bhutan into the Kick For Nick family will forever be a memorable one. We hope to continue to promote Nick’s mission and to help share the powerful message of the goodwill that can be found inside one football. We extend our many thanks to Shalini, the rest of the Kick For Nick team, and all participating schools.”

A kick for Nick football match at CMS School, Thimphu.

A kick for Nick football match at CMS School, Thimphu.

The event consisted of ten participating schools in Thimphu and Paro: Changangkha Middle Secondary School, Dechencholing Middle Secondary School, Jigme Namgyal Lower Secondary School, Zilukha Middle Secondary School, Zilonon Namgayling Primary School, Woochu Lower Secondary School, Shaba Primary School, Khangkhu Middle Secondary School, Taju Primary School, and Gaupel Lower Secondary School, organized in collaboration with Karma Dorji (Event Director of the Bhutan Olympic Committee). To commemorate Nick’s mission in Bhutan, a total of 100 student representatives and 12 teachers attended the events.

Student participants from CMS School.

Student participants from CMS School.

Kick For Nick serves as an exemplary initiative to support Bhutan’s focus of promoting positive youth development through sports. The spirit of Kick For Nick has touched Bhutan, just as we are sure it has with children in every other country it has visited.

STORY BY SARAH CAHLAN

PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY BY VINCENT ROAZZI JR. AND MATTHEW DESANTIS

 

 
StorySarah Cahlan