By Brenda Barger
Last Saturday evening, two very poised and accomplished young men, Daniel and Ben Wyatt hosted a banquet at their family's home on Avinger Lane to thank their many donors. Three short years ago, a family vacation to Costa Rica set the brothers on a new journey, one that would better the lives of teenagers there. Over Hispanic dishes redolent of their time in Costa Rica, Daniel (a senior at Cannon School) and Ben (a tenth grader) shared their vision of One-by-One Costa Rica with more than 40 supporters.
The first girls' team was formed in 2012 in Costa Rica practicing and playing under the mentorship of the Vuelo de Aguila staff.In August 2010, James and Edna Waytt and their three children embarked for Costa Rica with six large pieces of luggage containing toys and clothes to share through a church in one of the poorest slums near San Jose. They stayed with the Padilla family; William Padilla is the pastor of the Vuelo de Aguila church. He and his wife Anais have five children. Daniel says they were very welcoming and hospitable. Ben was shocked that such a humble little building could be a church.
Pastor Padilla's ability to assist families through his simple personal ministry inspired Daniel and Ben to create a soccer league, One-by-One, for troubled teenagers who might benefit from the church's weekly mentorship program. The partnership with Pastor Padilla works well because his church provides a constant presence. Through One-by-One, Daniel and Ben provide permanent funding for the church to counsel, support and mentor the players to improve their lives.
|Mayor John Woods (r) spoke with Ben (l) and Daniel Wyatt about their soccer program in Costa Rica|
One-by-One Soccer League now has several teams (both boys and girls) and over 100 regular participants. Eight players (along with Daniel and Ben) were recently baptized, and they are becoming leaders in the Vuelo de Aguila church. The sport has become a gateway to learn about personal responsibility, lead a Christian life, and ultimately define the path these young people choose for themselves. It all happens through the supportive environment of William and Anais Padilla under the auspices of One-by-One Costa Rica.
Daniel and Ben recently completed a campaign for donations and prayers to match and raise $200,000 to purchase a field that will be used by their soccer leagues. The facility will also be used to generate revenue by hosting other events and games. Daniel says they really appreciate everyone's support and they thank especially Mayor John Woods of Davidson, who helped them with fundraising ideas and was the first major donor over a year ago. For additional information, go to www.onebyonecostarica.com. Donations can be made online or by contacting Daniel or Ben through the website. Kudos to these teenagers for making a difference in the lives of others.