Photo of USA Wrestling for Peace program leaders distributing gear to youth wrestlers in Guatemala.
The wrestling community within the United States continues to help wrestlers in need around the world. Throughout the year, USA Wrestling for Peace (USAW4P) collected wrestling gear for youth in other countries. Olympic Gold Medalist, Steve Fraser and Program Manager, Lorraine Rorabaugh are in Guatemala this week to deliver the essential equipment needed to help their national wrestling federation grow their youth wrestling programs.
Wrestling helps develop resilience, grit and perseverance. Guatemala hopes to instill that character in their youth and develop their next generation of leaders.
“Guatemala’s youth are often affected by violence, crime, drugs and poverty and wrestling offers them a path to resist and overcome these challenges”, said Francisco Lee, President of United World Wrestling Americas.
USA Wrestling started their collection drive at the USMC Junior/16U Nationals in Fargo, N.D. this July. Wrestlers and their families graciously provided wrestling shoes, singlets, and workout gear for the kids in Guatemala.
“We are so grateful to all the people that donated to support this trip. It is a great honor to represent USA Wrestling in this mission,” commented Fraser.
Many people and organizations are helping to make this happen. Dollamur, an official sponsor of USA Wrestling, continued to lead the way by providing wrestling mats.
“We can’t thank them enough for what they do for this program and are true partners in growing wrestling and helping communities,” Fraser said.
Suples, another official sponsor of USA Wrestling, sent their famous Bulgarian bags and throwing dummies for the kids. These are items that Fraser knows will make a serious impact.
“This is a great gift for wrestling in Guatemala. Learning how to move with weight is a critical development process in wrestling, plus the kids have a lot of fun learning how to throw, this is a natural fit,” he said.
Barbarian Apparel and Cliff Keen provided boxes of new wrestling gear that will excite the kids and give them an identity that stands out.
“Everywhere we go, kids get the biggest smiles when we hand them new uniforms. The coaches say it makes them feel like they are part of something important and is a great source of pride,” shared Fraser.
There is another special treat in store for these kids too. USA World Team member and two-time World bronze medalist Nick Gwiazdowski sent in a big box of his wrestling gear and competition singlets
“I know there’s a heavyweight out there that can use this and I want to do everything I can to help,” said Gwiazdowski.
Wrestling has many global connections and bonds, but none deeper than Ben Plaue, who was adopted from Guatemala and is now a varsity wrestler at Newtown High School in Connecticut. When he heard about the opportunity to help, he immediately got to work and raised $2,500 for the cause and collected wrestling gear throughout his community.
“I felt I needed to do something,” Plaue said.
This epitomizes how wrestling is a powerful influence that can be shared with the rest of the world.
“Thank you to everyone who is making this a great program and to United World Wrestling who supports this mission and connects us with opportunities across the globe. Wrestling is a sport that gets kids on the right path in life. We want to share that experience everywhere we can,” said Fraser.
For more information about the USA Wrestling for Peace program, please contact Lorraine Rorabaugh at LRorabaugh@usawrestling.org
To donate to USA Wrestling for Peace, visit https://donate.usawrestling.org/page/show/3440878-usa-wrestling-for-peace