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December 30, 2014

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Our generous National CATCH Coordinator, Kathy Chichester, made CATCH proud this holiday season by taking a volunteer trip to Mumbai, India, to train YMCA staffers from throughout the major city.

YMCA Instructors train in CATCH!
YMCA Instructors train in CATCH!

Several years ago Kathy met executives from the Bombay YMCA while representing CATCH at a foreign exchange reception at the Metuchen, NJ YMCA. Kathy has since kept in touch with YMCA of Bombay on a volunteer basis, and this Thanksgiving she and her daughter traveled across the globe to spend two full days training the staff from all of their pre-school and summer school sites

Before she left for India, Kathy had CATCH cards translated into Hindi and Marathi (thank you Chista and Kanchan), the languages of Bombay. She modified CATCH training and gave teachers ideas of CATCH games with little or no equipment or space, so that their students could engage with CATCH in even the most modest of conditions.

“Seeing the teachers get active and excited was very inspiring; although the schools lack space and equipment, the teachers certainly don’t lack inspiration,” said Kathy’s daughter, Claire, of her experience. Claire received a grant from the Taft School for a public health project to fund her part of the trip.

The sites closed school for two days and teachers traveled from across the city to Kathy’s training. On day one, she expected 35 people for training, and 55 were in attendance. On day two, 65 people were in attendance (clearly having heard about Kathy’s fun trainings)! Several of the new attendees on day two were from a boys’ orphanage run by the Y.


kathy and claire with melvin
Kathy and Claire with Melvin Louis of YMCA of Bombay

The trainees engaged in team building and group work activities like we do in our trainings throughout the United States. Kathy was struck by the similarities of challenges to incorporating physical activity faced by Indian instructors and those she sees regularly in the United States.

“It was a truly phenomenal experience,” said Kathy of her trip. “Many thanks to Melvin, Jinson, Kanchan, Rafael, Mr Simeon, Procter and Andheri staff in Mumbai, and Flaghouse for their generous equipment donation.”

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