Serve to play: Local organizations create new model for youth to play futsal, volunteer together

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Many families are now thinking about getting their kids involved in sports again. You usually play for them to play, but some organizations created a new model, "serving to play, where volunteering is front and center."

"You will play, serve, and have a meal," said Mario Wimberly, chief visionary officer of TC Sol Futsal.

Young people will work together on and off the court.

"We very intentionally are going to be mixing up the different communities, to do these service projects, and now they’re going to have a full hour to get to know each other, work, serve the community, and do it as a team, do it together," said Kyle Johnson, founder and executive director of Karen Football Association.

Youth will learn to play futsal and volunteer.

"The biggest thing is how do we bring communities together. I think, one, we can do that through the game, right, but two, by having the service component of things," said Johnson.

"Seeds to harvest is what it is, you water a seed and it grows," said Michael Tate, coach of Seeds to Harvest.

It’s a vision for a new type of collaboration.

"It’s really about community, through the game of futsal," Wimberly said.

TC Sol Futsal and the Karen Football Association are teaming up with Seeds to Harvest, a community-based service organization dedicated to responding to the effects of the COVID pandemic and civil unrest.

This summer, once a week for six weeks, kids and teens can play for free.

"It’s unique in that first of all we play, then we work, and we work with the family, the one hour of service is to give back to the community," Tate said.

In this version of the game, your currency is your service.

"This is bigger than the game," Wimberly said. "The game is just the thing that we are doing to connect all of the kids and the families."

They believe it will positively impact kids from all across the metro as they gather at North Commons Park in north Minneapolis.

"At the end of the day that’s what we are trying to do is use the game to elevate kids and give them opportunities in life," Johnson said.

The futsal and volunteer program is free and includes a meal but they want to get to know you to build community relationships.