AF Austin’s March grantee: Have a Ball

March 30, 2013

The Austin chapter of the Awesome Foundation is pleased to award our March $1000 cash grant to Jackie Garrett and her project, Have a Ball. Garrett is a lead crisis counselor with the Austin Police Department’s Victim Services Division, where she has worked for 14 years. The inspiration behind her Have a Ball project came from her work, where she, like many first responders, comes in regular contact with traumatized children who have either been victims of or witnesses to violent crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assault, suicide, and homicide. When called to a crime scene, Victim Services counselors often hand out teddy bears to these children, but, Garrett, a former soccer goalie at Baylor University, had a slightly different idea. She wanted to give kids soccer balls. Not only does a shiny new soccer ball bring a smile to a child’s face, Garrett says, it also serves a therapeutic purpose. “Giving children a reason to run and play is a wonderful coping mechanism that we try to teach everyone to do after a disaster,” says Garrett. “Studies have shown that kids that have a physical outlet for their emotions tend to cope better and recover faster.”  Garrett says… read more →