ROUGHLY four years ago, Nicole Tiamzon was fresh out of college with a degree in sports science. She had just spent five years of representing the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons in the UAAP.
What to do next? All she had were vague plans and a whole lot of compassion.
“I [had] this feeling inside my heart that I wanted to give back to the province where I came from,” the Rizal native told SPIN Life, recalling her post-graduation musings.
Her thoughts were anchored on her own experiences, of course. According to her, sports is a life-changer, and she wanted to give that gift to even more people.
So she established the Spike and Serve Philippines Inc., a grassroots volleyball development and program institution for the Filipino youth.
“I believe that through sports, I can help the young kids just like how volleyball helped me before, and until now it’s still helping me in finding and doing my purpose,” she said.
Initially, she just wanted to conduct a one-day league to open have kids get their first experience of volleyball. But her plans grew bigger when she was able to link up with an international organization. Now, she wanted to make it something even more long term.
Four years on, Spike and Serve has already done much for the love of the game. Even during the lockdown, they made most of the limitations and restrictions to carry on with their mission.
“Last year, we had a donation drive so we can donate volleyball equipment in some communities in Bataan, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, and Cebu. For the past months, [we've had] online activities like Fit Day (workouts), Match Point (video call session of sharing inspiring stories with guests invited), and mentoring sessions for coaches in the community,” she said.
In this way, the organization helps reinforce the existing grassroots program for volleyball in the Philippines.
They also have projects targeting the parents and teachers as they believe, families play a big role in the honing of a child. Spike and Serve also partnered with a few organizations to include other sports, as well.
“We have also partnered with the New Faith Family Children's Home to provide physical education, taekwondo, and arnis training and online volleyball training for the children at risk that [the organization is] taking care of. We also have online volleyball training sessions for the girls of Voice of the Free who are victims of human trafficking and domestic abuse,” she shared.
The Perlas Spikers outside hitter can personally attest as to how sports can change lives.
She explained: “I learned a lot of values that I can use and apply in the other areas of my life. I learned discipline not just at home but also inside the court. That's what I've wanted to pass on to the next generation. Sport is a good teacher because it can bring out the worst and best character in you.”
Tiamzon's work in the organization landed her name in the shortlist of the 2021 Women of the Future Awards Southeast Asia, side by side with other empowered, trailblazing women.
The 25-year-old, of course, gave due credit to the team she built and the communities who participated in making her vision a reality.
“We're thankful na kahit madaming restrictions and very challenging talaga yung situation, we continue on finding ways to help communities through sports. Kudos to all the people behind Spike and Serve especially to my coaches for still choosing to continue what we've started and still serving the community,” she said. “We still have a long way to go and I hope it will serve as an inspiration to the organization and also sa mga communities na tinutulungan namin.”
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