Bring It USA — Volleyball, Travel, and Giving Back

 

Bring It Promotions (BIP) is the premier volleyball travel agency specializing in international volleyball tours and events.  Since 1996, BIP has been partnering with volleyball programs at every level in managing tours to destinations like Europe, Asia, South America, and Central America, combining competitive volleyball with sightseeing and cultural activities.

In addition to providing once in a lifetime experiences for volleyball teams across the country, BIP’s mission also includes community service and empowerment.  After a trip to Nicaragua in 2007, BIP’s tours began to focus on giving back. What started as teams bringing items like school supplies and sports equipment to local schools while on tour, the initiative has grown into a movement to provide communities with access to sports, education, and employment.  Now, volunteering and community involvement are some of the most key pieces to every volleyball tour.

Brooke Rundle, Director of Marketing, Beach Volleyball, and Central America Tours for BIP, has been involved with the community empowerment initiative since the beginning.  She shares below how this shift toward giving back began, how it has grown into such an important movement, and how to get involved.

How did you get involved in all of the giving back that you do through Bring it USA and your travels?

I work with a volleyball company that specializes in international travel for club and college teams called Bring It Promotions (BIP). At BIP we’ve been running volleyball tours around the world since 1996, but it wasn’t until we started bringing volleyball teams to Nicaragua back in 2007 that I really started shifting our focus to community service and empowerment on each of BIP’s volleyball team tours.  We started in Nicaragua, but eventually expanded to Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico post Hurricane Maria. Now all of BIP’s volleyball tours in Central and South America include community empowerment initiatives.  Aside from the volleyball matches, volunteering has become the most important and impactful piece of every team’s travel experience.

You’ve recently traveled to Puerto Rico again.  Can you share some of your experiences from that trip?

In June 2019 a mixed club team with players from JJVA (Jacksonville Juniors Volleyball Association), A5 and North Atlanta volleyball clubs spent a week together in Puerto Rico on one of the most impactful trips we’ve experienced yet. In preparation for the trip, the team collected 192 new sports bras in partnership with a non-profit organization called the Sports Bra Project. The team delivered the sports bras to Puerto Rico in an effort to remove barriers to girls participation in sports. The team also did hurricane rehabilitation and clean up alongside Programa De Educacion Comunal De Entrega y Servicio (P.E.C.E.S) in Southeastern Puerto Rico, one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Maria. They also volunteered at a kids camp in the Jardín Botánico de la UPR. At the camp, the team hosted a volleyball clinic and distributed coloring books donated by USA volleyball.

JJVA Club in Puerto Rico

 

Can you explain a little bit about the Casa Llanta fund?

The Casa Llanta Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to combating social and economic injustice in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. The Casa Llanta Fund’s mission is to empower marginalized communities by providing access to sports, education, and employment. Tim Kelly and I originally founded the non-profit in Nicaragua as a way to raise financial resources from the volleyball community for social impact initiatives in Central America. In Nicaragua, we founded and continually support a cooperative for adults with disabilities. We also provide school textbooks and university scholarships for kids in need. In Costa Rica and Puerto Rico we partner with local NGO’s to provide additional resources and volunteers. You can learn more about our non-profit organization and our international volleyball impact trips on our website here – http://bringitusa.com/live/casa-llanta-fund/.

Casa Llanta Fund in Nicaragua

 

Can you tell us about the current initiatives you’re working on?

Two of the most exciting initiatives I’m currently working on are actually based in Costa Rica. The first is Casa Hogar, housing and employment program which empowers adults with disabilities in the village of Naranjo. Casa Hogar provides food, health care, housing, education and jobs for 60+ people and they are in the process of raising money to build the first full-time elderly home for people with disabilities in Central America. The second is a reforestation project in partnership with Two Little Monkeys Chocolate near La Fortuna, Costa Rica. In response to the terrifying statistic that every minute 150 acres of rainforest gets destroyed on the planet, we’ve started planting endangered native species of trees in the Chichiagua Rainforest. Every team that visits Costa Rica with us plants trees to reverse global warming through reforestation and earth rehabilitation. And since the reforestation project is organized by organic chocolate farmers, we also get to learn how to make chocolate!

Augsburg Volleyball in Costa Rica

Is there a way for local volleyball programs or individuals to get involved in the cause?  How so?

If you want to make a financial donation to contribute to hurricane rehabilitation and socioeconomic development in Puerto Rico, please visit P.E.C.E.S. website and donate here – https://www.pecesinc.org/. P.E.C.E.S. is a 501(c)(3) entity and donations are fully tax deductible. If your volleyball team would like to collect and donate sports bras for the Sports Bra Project, you can learn more about that initiative here –https://www.thesportsbraproject.org/.  And lastly, the best way to get involved volunteering would be to join one of our volleyball teams on a service trip.  Learn more about our volleyball service trips here – http://bringitusa.com/live/. Or email Brooke Rundle at [email protected].

Sports Bra Project in Puerto Rico

 

All photos courtesy of Brooke Rundle, Bring It USA, LLC.