This summer, South Bronx United alum Nancy Ordaz was awarded a full scholarship by Woza Soccer for the organization’s service trip to Peru. The immersive program is an opportunity for students from across the United States to build relationships with each other while serving and playing soccer to inspire action and connections within local communities. Nancy was recently asked to speak at a fundraising event for Woza Soccer about her experiences in the program. Below is the text of the speech she prepared for that event:

First and foremost, thank you for the opportunity to be here today and for the wonderful opportunity that was provided to me by WOZA.

When my soccer club, South Bronx United, first talked to me about WOZA, I was a bit skeptical. You see, I am a timid person, and I was worried about meeting new people. Not only that, I had never traveled outside the country or been on a plane before. It took some convincing, but I finally saw the value of this fantastic opportunity.

I knew I had made the right decision the second I met my travel group and group leaders. I have to say, this opportunity changed my life. My trip to Peru helped me meet new people from all over the country who share my passion for soccer. Not only did I get to hang out with some great people, but I also got to see the world in a whole new way. Before going to Peru, I was not aware or maybe didn’t realize that people outside of the Bronx have it a lot more difficult than I do. Their struggles are beyond anything I could ever imagine, and yet, they wake up every morning with a smile on their face. Their smiles taught me how to appreciate my life and all of the opportunities available to me. I also learned that Peruvian people are great soccer players and that soccer truly unites the world.

One of my favorite memories about Peru was traveling to Machu Pichu, but there was one thing I did not like. The stairs! We climbed and climbed, and I have to admit, I even contemplated quitting at one point. Thankfully, I didn’t let my exhaustion get the best of me. We made it to the top, and it was magical. I now use Machu Pichu as a metaphor in my everyday life. I remember that just like in Machu Pichu, life is hard and there are many steps before you reach the top. Sometimes, you’re going to want to quit, but if you stick it out and keep climbing, magic awaits you at the top.

Once again, thank you for having me and thank you for picking me to travel to Peru and be a part of this once in a lifetime experience.

Nancy was awarded a South Bronx United Scholarship to attend the College of Staten Island, where she is currently a freshman. We are so proud to see her continue to be a champion of the values that South Bronx United stands for.