Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dylan Safai, Co-Founder of International Sports for All, located in Maryland, USA.
What's your organization, and who are your members?
International Sports for All is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded to ensure that every child can play sports in order to grow physically and mentally. International Sports For All began as nothing more than an idea in the summer of 2017 when Hope Safai and I traveled to the lower Mediterranean. While there, we traveled to many of the historic tourist sites and greatly enjoyed them. However, we were appalled by the large number of homeless kids, especially Syrian refugees escaping their war-torn nation.
Many of these kids did not have homes, let alone sports equipment. We could not imagine a life without sports, which we had been playing since we were two. Thus, we set out to create an organization to enable all kids around the globe to enjoy sports similar to how we did. Additionally, we decided to connect our new organization to mental health awareness so that the kids we donate to are able to grow both mentally and physically. Ever since that summer, International Sports for All has taken off and expanded worldwide.
Tell us about yourself
Growing up and to the present day, giving back to my community has always been what is on my mind. From after-school volunteering at local nursing residential programs to helping build homes after hurricanes with international aid organizations, I have always loved affecting positive change within my community. To date, I have served close to 2500 volunteer hours and hope to hit the 3000 volunteer hour mark by the end of 2022. This motivation to give back to others is what drives me to get up every morning and continue my work with the International Sports For All organization. Recently, I began my undergraduate studies at Williams College, a liberal arts college situated amongst the Berkshires of northern Massachusetts.
What's your organization's biggest accomplishment?
I would say my biggest accomplishment with the International Sports for All team has been our large global expansion. Starting with just two branches within the United States, we were able to quickly expand globally as more and more people heard about our mission. To date, we have expanded to 31 branches in nine nations. This has allowed us to have a greater network for distributing our positive mental health resources, blog posts, and sports equipment. To date, we have distributed close to 2700 items of sports equipment to those who need it globally.
What's one of the hardest things that come with leading an organization?
I would not say there are many things that are especially difficult about leading the IS4All organization, due to the amazing team that I have been fortunate enough to help assemble, the impactful mission which drives each and every member to greater heights to help achieve, and the joy we see each and every time we donate a batch of sports equipment to children who are in need of it worldwide. These factors help to mask the little annoyances often encountered in terms of some legislative red tape, as the team and I know what we are working towards is helping others.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow an organization today?
- Have a mission worth working towards. 62% of organizations falter within their first year because founders lose sight of the mission they started towards. With a strong goal to work towards, you will keep your ship sailing with a full sail of wind.
- Assemble a supportive team who works together to not only help the people of the world but provide positive elevation for those around them. With a strong team, the sky is the only limit.
- Just do it. If you have an idea on your mind, go after it and pursue it. The worst thing in life is regret. The feeling of short-term hardship in the development of your organization far outweighs the lifelong regret of thinking back to this moment.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Visit our website, socials, or personal social media accounts to find out more about how to start your own branch of the International Sports For All Organization! We are always looking to add more members to the team! Looking forward to speaking with all the future leaders soon!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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