On November 29th, I will be running in the Seattle Marathon with the Co-Founder of Grassroot Soccer in support of their programs, which use the power of soccer to educate, inspire and mobilize young people to stop the spread of HIV. Only a little over a month ago I did not run at all! Why then did I suddenly scramble to buy a pair of running shoes to finish a 13.1-mile race as a part of the Grassroot Soccer Team?
As many of you know, I worked for the last 2+ years as a HIV/AIDS volunteer with Peace Corps in rural South Africa. South Africa has more people living with HIV/AIDS than any country in the world, and I saw first-hand its impact on individuals, families and communities. This cause is near and dear to my heart.
- I run in solidarity with my village of Lefiso where 1 in 4 people are HIV positive. Youth, especially girls, being most at risk.
- I run in support of my village partner, YASPO, with whom I worked to launch youth Grassroot Soccer HIV prevention programs in the community. Due to their hard work and commitment, YASPO was recently chosen as 1 of only 3 organizations in South Africa to be an official Grassroot Soccer Community Partner. I couldn’t be more proud of them. Le anthakgatsa (You inspire me)!
- I run because I am profoundly moved by what I see happening with YASPO and Grassroot Soccer in my village. Over the next 2 years, they will reach 2,000 at-risk youth with evidence-based programs geared to prevent HIV, reduce stigma and address gender inequality.
I hope you will join in and donate to help achieve an AIDS-free generation! My goal is to raise $3,000. Every cent of every dollar helps. By supporting Grassroot Soccer, you will help youth in my village and communities like mine all over the world. Watch the short video to the left to learn more about how your contribution will make a difference with Grassroot Soccer and scroll through some of my photos of programs in my village.
Thank you for your support!
P.S. If you would like to include a message of encouragement to my friends at YASPO, I will make sure it gets back to them! Let’s send them some love as they work to change lives with Grassroot Soccer as part of the largest youth program ever run in my village.
Team YASPO: David, Lawrence, Selina, Puleng, Nthabiseng, Abigail, Itumeleng, Lebogang, Rosina, Diketso, Kgadi, Michael, Johaness, Kabelo, Hendrick, Mpho, Rolphey, Dikeledi, and Kamogelo, you are my heroes!