Tuesday, at 3pm local time, Impact defender Jeb Brovsky made his way to the hotel lobby for a meeting about the game in Guatemala.
This particular meeting however had more to do with the people in the stands than tactics on the pitch as some 400 kids from the Central American country have been invited to take in the Impact’s matchup versus CD Heredia in Guatemala City.
Hey Guatemala, what do ya know! Better start collecting the 600 tickets for the awesome orphans I know! :) #IMFC hook it up?— Jeb Brovsky (@JebBrovsky) June 4, 2013
Brovsky, who visited Guatemala last December for one his many philanthropic endeavors, felt it was fate that the Impact was drawn into the same group as a club from the country he just visited.
“As soon as the draw was announced, I went to Twitter suggesting that something should be done for the children I worked with during my Peace Pandemic trip,” said Brovsky. “Not long after that, the ball was rolling.”
In the lobby waiting for Brovky was Benoit Labonté, co-founder of the Jebi Knights supporters group, dedicated to the Impact’s wing back and his philosophies on life.
Labonté was quick to respond to Brovsky’s tweet.
“The Jebi Knights was started by a few families because we have some of the same values that Jeb has demonstrated ever since he’s come to Montreal. We want our kids to grow up to have those same values,” said Labonté. “So when the opportunity came up to get involved with Jeb, we jumped on it.”
In order to raise money, Jeb and his knights started Operacion Quetzal, a fundraising initiative that sold Peace Pandemic/Jebi Knights supporters scarves at $25 each and hosted a few events. Then, Impact president Joey Saputo pledged to match the dollar amount of money raised.
“The support of the supporters and the club has been incredible,” said Brovsky. Ever since I’ve been here, they’ve been great. And to have a president who has been so supportive of these ventures has been great.”
$12,000 later and ready to serve the cause, Peace Pandemic and the Jebi Knights had the money to provide the 400 kids a ticket to the game, transportation to the stadium, scarves and Impact branded backpacks.
“Having a professional player as a role model can serve to inspire these kids, who are often faced with very difficult upbringings,” said Maria Diaz, a representative from the HANDS organization, a non-profit that connects existing organizations in Central America with outside volunteers, who coordinated the event. “I had never heard of another professional player do what Jeb does before we met on his trip. He gives these kids hope.”