Vannak Kong setup free clinic for kids in Clemente Park
LOWELL — Surrounded by children at Clemente Park, Vannak Kong leads the youngsters in warm-up exercises before breaking them up into teams.
“Time for some three on three!” he shouts.
The kids, ranging in age from 8 to 16, head to their respective volleyball nets and begin to play. Kong walks around, sprinkling words of encouragement and bits of advice as he goes, stopping to help show proper form and techniques.
“The kids have all been so respectful,” Kong said. “There’s not been any fights, no arguments. All the older kids are helping the younger ones. It’s very refreshing to see.”
Monday was the last of three free volleyball clinics Kong held at the park throughout August in collaboration with the Clemente Park Committee.
“I really feel like it’s huge to give back to the community that gave so much to me,” said Kong, 32, a lifelong Lowellian. “I used to hang around these parks. It was a scary place. So to see all these smiling faces helping each other, picking each other up, is really beautiful for me.”