NEWS & PRESS RELEASES
Dan Occhiogrosso: Dribble the World
Dan Occhiogrosso has combined a love for basketball with a passion for reaching others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, creating a unique ministry that focuses on raising funds and awareness for African orphans.
In 2007, Dan ran the New York City Marathon while dribbling a basketball the entire way to raise awareness for the millions of children orphaned by AIDS worldwide. Read about his NYC race here.
Originally from and still residing just outside New York City, in Fairview, NJ, Dan is a 2004 graduate of Baptist Bible College.
His current ministry, Dribble the World is an extension of Ball for Lives, a nonprofit organization that exists to help rescue African orphans and children in need around the world. The organization works to support Bethesda Outreach Ministries, a children's village in South Africa built and supported by Evangelical Baptist Missions.
Read more In the Spotlights here.
What led you to BBC?
My mother asked me to go to a college fair that I really didn't feel like going to, but I said ok. I saw Coach Show, who I knew from a Defender Sports Camp. After talking with him I saw very clearly the Lord was leading
me to BBC. It was that simple.
What program were you in and why?
Secondary Education English. I had, and still have, a vision for Christians entering public schools with the light of Christ. Literature is probably the easiest subject to use to begin life discussions with students, and being light in darkness naturally leads to long term opportunities to speak of Christ with them outside the school setting. I currently sub and coach in an urban public school.
How did BBC prepare you for your ministry?
God used BBC to place several key people in my life. Dr. (Jim) King's linguistics class challenged me to believe God could use my life to radically change lives around the world. Coaches (Mike) Show, (Jamie) Miller, (Mark) Chapman, and (Dwight) Peterson encouraged me greatly to pursue God and helped me become the man He has made me to be. The relationships I made with many other BBC students are invaluable, several of whom have dribbled races around the country, including Adam Reinking (Indiana, 2008), Josh Waldron (Atlanta, 2008), Nate Logan (Tampa Bay, 2009), Ashley Ten Kate (New York City, 2009), Justin Cook (New Jersey, 2009), and Laurie Plante and Kellyn Lovell (Philadelphia, 2010).
How did Dribble the World start?
During my college years I began developing a passion for acting against world poverty. I specifically remember a chapel message that Paul Jackson, then president of EBM, preached on Galatians 2:1-10. He showed Paul's concern for the accuracy of the Gospel he was preaching and the warning the other apostles gave him after they approved his message: as you go out to the gentiles with the gospel, don't forget the poor.
In 2006, I decided I wanted to do something big with basketball to help rescue African orphans. I heard about the AIDS epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa through the ministry of Bethesda Outreach in South Africa. My heart was burdened to do something for the millions of orphans who had lost their parents to AIDS.
One day I was thinking about my dad, who has run many marathons, including the New York City Marathon, twice. Then I thought: "Why not dribble a basketball through one of the biggest marathons in the world to raise funds and awareness for African orphans?" So I did it!
How does it work?
People who are interested in dribbling a running event contact us, and we help them get started. First they need to select which race they want to dribble and a cause they would like to benefit. We still faithfully support Bethesda Outreach, but we have discovered many other solid organizations that are doing great things to save lives. Then we help our runners get started on their training and on raising awareness and funds. Finally, when we can, we bring a group of people with bright green Dribble the World shirts to cheer them on at their races. Our desire is to use these opportunities to talk with people about our motivation, Jesus Christ.
Why Dribble the World?
Because God is glorified seeing His children use their talents for His glory. He loves seeing His people come together to labor for His name. Our God hates injustice and loves rescuing those who are victims of it. Finally, a lost world desperately needs to see the heart of God, the hearts of His children, and the invitation that is open to all to join His family.
What do you hope to accomplish?
I most of all want God to be honored in all the ways I just mentioned. One specific goal I have had since the beginning is to see a Bethesda Outreach started in each of the four countries surrounding South Africa. When we started Dribble the World, I remember reading each one had an AIDS rate of higher than 30%.
What has been your most significant success?
Any success we have had is the work of God done in the lives of our dribblers, the lives of the people who see what we do, and the precious people trapped in poverty that we labor to save.
What else have you been or are you involved in?
I now go into schools (Christian and public), churches, and youth groups with a presentation called "Create the Crossover." I use entertaining dribbling drills and tricks to share what we are doing with Dribble the World, and to inspire people to think about how God could use their talents and abilities to save lives. We also have "The X Fund," a project that promotes sexual purity within the Church by getting believers involved in combating child prostitution globally. These three efforts are the three extensions of Ball for Lives, our nonprofit organization.
What is the favorite thing you do with Dribble the World?
Having people tell me I was crazy for dribbling all those miles and then watching them cross the finish line.
What is your favorite Bible verse?
Psalm 88:11-12 (ESV): For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!
How can people get involved with Dribble the World?
1. Help us spread the word about Dribble the World. Go to DribbletheWorld.com and sign up for our email updates.
2. Sign up with us to dribble a race or help us find more runners. You may not dribble or run, but you probably know someone who does. Contact us, and let's help more people Dribble the World.
3. Get behind our runners. Pray for them, email them, and donate towards their efforts.
Websites: DribbletheWorld.com and BallforLives.com.
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Posted on: 5/3/2010 9:29:58 AM