The 7th round of Peace Through Sport (PTS) is well underway. Close to 100 students from Lebanon and the United States are participating in the 7th eight-week round of the Peace Through Sport program and have virtually connected through Zoom. During the two virtual exchanges PTS participants heard from two guest speakers, Jackie Kurtz from the United States and Mohannad Al Shami from Lebanon.
Jackie Kurtz is a blogger who is on a mission to make the world better, one kindness at a time. When her son died tragically, she started a kindness website and blog as a tribute to him. In his 32 years he impacted more lives than most people do in a lifetime. Jackie started playing pickleball 10 years ago and has been addicted to it ever since. She has played all over the United States and in Costa Rica and travels everywhere with her pickleball paddle just in case she needs it. During her presentation, Jackie spoke about the sport of pickleball and how it is one of the fastest growing sports.
Her family has established a foundation that provides resources for people dealing with mental health issues and offers scholarships to young people who would like to spread kindness and respect. Jackie’s favorite quote is, “Act as if what you do makes a difference, it does.” – William James.
Mohannad Al Shami holds an international diploma in weight training and is a certified dietitian. Mohannad has many achievements including:
Lebanon Champion in Bodybuilding in 2010
Lebanon Champion in Powerlifting in 2011
Lebanon champion as the strongest man in 2017
Arab Champion the strongest man in 2018
Rank 7 as Asian Champion in Powerlifting (India)in 2018
The 1st world champion in Powerlifting (Germany) in 2019
The students learned about his training and heard the message of taking things step by step towards their goals. Mohannad encouraged the students to be active and to change their challenges into positives. “Don’t let anything break you down. Let things push you and use that power.” – Mohannad Al Shami
Students from Sheppard Pratt School in Maryland and from Bekaa, Lebanon shared presentations about their countries and their cultures. They did an amazing job and are now preparing to do a deep dive of their communities to identify ideas for impactful service-learning projects.
Peace Through Sport is a MLI program generously funded by the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.