Since 2006, World Hoop Day has been dedicated to bringing dance, exercise and toy hoops to under-privileged children living in extreme poverty and the under-developed neighborhoods of our world. Founded by Annie O'Keeffe, husband Kevin, and Groove Hoop friend Stefan Pildes, World Hoop Day is a not-for-profit organization that uses a community-based, grass roots approach to provide one-of-a-kind "hula" hoops. The durable, adult-sized hoops can be used their entire life as a simple and effective way to bring joy to an otherwise devastating situation.At the core, World Hoop Day is a non-profit dedicated to bringing hoops to needy folks around the globe. When I first heard about this unique holiday, I thought it was sort of silly. But then I got to thinking about my time in Malaysia. With my missions team, I visited a Tamil (Hindu) orphanage, armed with a metric ton of games, crafts, and activities. For all our planning and preparedness, all the the children wanted to do was play. Pure and simple, they just wanted someone to see them, to spend time kicking around a ball or jumping rope with them.
There are many aid organizations who provide food and medical relief, but what about the mental welfare of a child who grows up too quickly and hardly has a reason to smile or play or just be a child? To date more than 13,750 hoops valued at more than US $83,000 have been given away. Hundreds of World Hoop Day Ambassadors have donated thousands of hoops to beautiful children and their families around the world.The simple hoop has positive physical and mental health benefits, stimulates imaginations, and enables feelings of pure joy and bliss. We give to honor gratitude, appreciation, healing and to promote world peace and harmony. Every year for one day hoopers around the world gather in parks, beaches, community centers and schools to raise awareness of the need to stay fit with fun exercise, while giving back to their neighborhoods and raising funds to continue sending Ambassadors with Hoops to remote locations with children in need (from the WHD site).
Considering that, the simple strength attention and play, World Hoop Day has become a powerful endeavor in my mind. WHD ambassadors travel to remote, needy areas delivering hoops and, even more importantly, attention and love. They see the poor and forgotten people of the world and remind these people that they are precious, too.
This year's World Hoop Day is this Sunday, October 10, 2010. Yep, that's 10/10/10, and it's not a mistake. (Future WHD dates are 11/11/11 and 12/12/12. I'm not sure what they're going to do for 2013. . . .) Check out the World Hoop Day website to see if there's an event in your area, or visit World Hoop Day on Facebook. Happy globally-aware hooping!
Photo from WHD ambassador Jane, taken in Peru