While the holidays are a time of celebration for many, it can be a difficult time for those experiencing homelessness. Each year, the Pacific Ridge School boys varsity basketball team delivers a large holiday meal to the men at La Posada de Guadalupe, a shelter for homeless men and farm workers in Carlsbad. In early January, the team visited for the fourth time, armed with trays full of turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy and more. Pacific Ridge Basketball Coach Chris Burman said the students look forward to it each year.
“The boys jumped right into it. It’s a way for them to see that they can have a positive impact locally, right here within our community,” said Burman.
The meal was donated by the Gottesman family, owners of Carlsbad's Tin Leaf and Beach Plum Kitchen restaurants. Their son, Ben, is a graduate of Pacific Ridge School and played on the varsity basketball team during his time there.
At the holiday meal, students get to talk with the men and learn more about their backgrounds. Burman said it’s one of the many bonding experiences the team has throughout the year.
In the summer, the players traveled to Tijuana to host a basketball clinic in the underserved community of Colonia Fausto Gonzalez. The boys taught basketball skills such as dribbling and passing to more than 30 children. While there, they also spent three days strengthening their global connections and playing friendly scrimmages against local basketball clubs.
The basketball team is one of many student groups with extensive experience working in the community. Service is built into the curriculum at Pacific Ridge and students spend time each week working in the community on causes they are passionate about.