FLANDREAU, S.D. (KELO) — An organization based in Flandreau is assisting kids and families more than 3,000 miles from home.
Stop into one of Craig Severtson’s storage spaces and you’ll find a variety of items, and a lot of them. He’s the founder of Helping Kids Round First, a nonprofit that got its start bringing baseball equipment to Nicaragua.
“It’s one of the few countries in Latin America, that like Venezuela, like Cuba, like Panama that soccer isn’t king, baseball is,” Helping Kids Round First founder Craig Severtson said.
Nicaragua is also the poorest country in Central America.
“If you can’t afford food for your kids, you can’t afford gloves and baseballs and bats. That’s how this all started out,” Severtson said.
The project quickly expanded beyond baseball to include education, food, farming, and health care, and continues to grow.
“As we’re handing out equipment, an elderly women came up and asked ‘can you build us a well, ours dried up’, and then the wheels start going and ‘yes we can’, and now we did wells,” Severtson said.
“One day you are working with scholarships, and the other day you are becoming, like Craig says, a chicken whisperer (laugh),” Helping Kids Round First Executive Director Nadia Nabhan said.
Executive Director Nadia Nabhan lives in Nicaragua. She’s been with the nonprofit for eight years and says every donation is shared throughout the community.
“They are getting not just a project, not just an opportunity to be able to be sustainable, but they’re also getting education and that education is going to pass through generations and that’s going to ensure that the people are learning what they have to do to become sustainable,” Nabhan said.
After shipping items to Nicaragua every few months for the past 15 years, Helping Kids Round First is now expanding its efforts to Africa.
“We couldn’t get our food to Nicaragua easily, but friends we had in Sudan and Chad say ‘we have a terrible problem here, can you help feed?’, so we pivoted and went there, and that sums up how all this works,” Severtson said.
And how Helping Kids Round First will continue to work.
“When we discuss how we’re going to do this in the future, there’s no limits,” Severtson said.
The organization recently had a large fundraiser that featured John Randle, the all-time sack leader for the Minnesota Vikings.