TUCSON, Ariz.- The Arizona Beach Volleyball team is a proud supporter of Team IMPACT, a national nonprofit that connects college sports teams with children experiencing chronic illnesses or disabilities, offering mutually beneficial and long-lasting experiences for all who take part. Maki Bispham, a senior on the Arizona Beach Volleyball team, is a fellow for Team IMPACT, and while in this role, she has had many opportunities for personal and professional growth. Bispham believes this organization has the power to change lives, and is excited to see its growth in the future.
Below is a Q&A, in which Bispham discuses her experiences working with and advocating for Team IMPACT.
What is Team IMPACT?
“Team IMPACT is a non-profit that matches kids with a chronic illness or disability with a college team, and there’s a whole bunch of clinical research behind it but I think it’s ages five to 16 because they’ve deemed that those are the most beneficial years (for the match) to benefit. They’re with the team for two years and it’s not just a photo op. They’re part of the roster, they’re able to come to practices, they’re on the sidelines at games. With our match, she invited us to her birthday party, so a couple of girls went to that. It’s just a really good support network and community for both the match and our team. For us, at least me specifically, it’s been a really good thing to help me gain perspective, because I’m realizing there’s definitely more to the sport, there’s more to play for. It has helped me in realizing things in my life that I’m grateful for and like all the community around me, the support. It’s such a cool thing, and I can’t emphasize enough how mutually beneficial it is, especially being a fellow because they put so much into our personal, professional and every single one of our developments. I sometimes feel like I’m getting out more than I’m putting back into this, which I think is really crazy, because coming into any opportunity like this, you just expect to give, give, give. It’s been really cool to see how much I’ve gained from it personally. I can’t say enough good things about it.”
How did you initially get involved with the program? What drew you to this cause?
“I knew what Team IMPACT was because we got a match in the very beginning of fall of last year….