Meet Peter -Student Ambassador

Getting to know Peter Curtin — Written by Michael Chen

Peter Curtin, E2P Student Ambassador

On the surface, Peter Curtin seems like another college-bound high school student. Peter has good grades and is a talented wrestler at the St. Paul’s School (SPS), an independent school based in Concord, New Hampshire with a strong record of guiding its students to Ivy League colleges. It was there that Peter was introduced to Empower2Play (E2P) through Coach AK, the Associate Dean of Students at the school at the time. Peter found himself drawn to Coach AK’s commitment to the progress and his passion when he spoke about E2P.

A few months later Peter was on the back of a World War II-era jeep in the densely-packed streets of Quezon City, just outside of Manila in the Philippines. Not only was Quezon City geographically a world apart from SPS for Peter, the symphony of sounds from cars, bikes, and people starkly contrasted the relative tranquility of Concord.

“We take everything we have for granted and these people have very little in comparison, yet they are so happy and gracious. I think that is amazing. For me the most important lesson I learned is to live in the moment. Be vulnerable to everything that might happen and don’t miss what’s going on in the world around, because if you do you might just miss a beautiful life-changing moment.”

The antique jeep was headed towards the Marcos Compound Community in the Paso Tamong district, one of the many underfunded communities in Quezon City, weaving through traffic and peeling past street vendors selling everything from technicolored flip-flops to mp4 players. Locals donned umbrellas to block out the sun and paid little attention to the frantically hurried vehicles.

In 2014, Peter Curtin, along with his friends, Drew Eckler and Harrison Garrett, were part of the first student ambassadors in the E2P program. The programs goal is to reach children in underfunded communities and use sports as a method to unite communities.

In the Marcos Compound, E2P introduced the game of American football to over 300 children, provided over 2500 meals and awarded 16 educational scholarships. One of Peter’s favorite moments was when he first arrived at the Marcos Compound. Hundreds were there to greet the E2P team. Among those were many children who had been waiting after school for hours. The children’s hands clamored over the vehicle as it slowed to a halt. The sky was pierced with broken English and laughs. It was at this moment when Peter fully recognized the importance of E2P’s goals.

Peter with Scholarship recipients-Quezon City,Philippines

One of Peter’s favorite moments was when he first arrived at the Marcos Compound. Hundreds were present to greet the E2P team. Among those were many children who had been waiting after school for hours awaiting our arrival. The children’s hands clamored over the vehicle as it slowed to a halt. The sky was pierced with broken English and laughter. It was at this moment when Peter fully recognized the importance of E2P’s goals.

Peter and the E2P team worked tirelessly for two weeks straight preparing for the camp, often times going to bed late into the night. Not only did Peter help with the planning of the event, he also physically help build the football field, removing rocks and painting the lines. Peter felt his confidence and communication skills regularly challenged as he was thrusted into a position of leadership. This was apparent when Peter had to communicate with his host family who only knew a few words of English.

Peter Curtin with Jason Singleton

Though the trip was taxing mentally and physically, Peter claimed that it was one of the greatest experiences in his life. He remembered one moment in particular where he sat on a nearby hill overlooking the event unfolding before him. “Seeing the kids laugh and joke and the entire community out there made everything worth it.”

“Seeing the kids laugh and joke and the entire community out there made everything worth it.”

Peter is currently a senior at St. Paul’s School and is preparing for college next fall. He is extremely proud of being a part of E2P’s efforts to bring sports to underfunded communities and strongly encourages students that will come after him to have an experience abroad. He hopes that his story will inspire the next generational of student ambassadors for E2P and strives every day to hold on to his memories of Quezon City, the Marcus Compound, and most importantly the faces of all those he brought American football.

Founder and President Coach AK and the team,at the first Sports Camp-Quezon City,Philippines
“We take everything we have for granted and these people have very little in comparison, yet they are so happy and gracious. I think that is amazing. For me the most important lesson I learned is to live in the moment. Be vulnerable to everything that might happen and don’t miss what’s going on in the world around, because if you do you might just miss a beautiful life-changing moment.”

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Originally published at www.empower2play.org on March 16, 2016.

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