NWF Youth Sports Impact | Imani Johnson

My trip to The Gambia was an amazing opportunity to learn and grow. My most important takeaway from this trip is unity. This trip brought communities together. I was moved by how everyone played a role in the success of Run the Bases and the impact we had on the children.

Teaching softball to the kids in The Gambia made me realize what an honor it is to spend my time doing something that does matter, not only to me but to many others.

On this trip, I realized how in Los Angeles we are connected all the time with our cell phones, but how we really are not united. In The Gambia, with limited access to social media, the value of family and unity are so important.

Everyone calls you sister/brother. The kids play together and call each other “auntie” and get along with each other. They play with each other as if they grew up together sharing songs and dancing.

This opportunity opened my mind to realize that even when we have cultural differences, the reality of the community I lived with is not that different from mine.

I learned so much about the community and I left with a sense of admiration. The children are a lot more independent; there is a sense of community where you care for people outside of yourself and your immediate family to make sure everyone is loved.

The Gambia was great. People there know 8 languages which is really awesome. One thing I think everyone can learn from a trip like this is the importance of developing cultural awareness. I am really grateful for the opportunity I had to travel to The Gambia to see the difference of other people, other places, and other communities.