Amazing Kids! of the MonthEach month, we showcase kids who are accomplishing amazing things. We hope that by telling their special stories, we will inspire other kids to accomplish their own amazing achievements.
If you, or someone that you know, has a special skill, talent or ability, be sure to let Amazing Kids! know about it! Simply complete our Amazing Kids! of the Month online nomination form!
October, 2009: FUNDaFIELD – A Charity Founded by Kids, for the Benefit of Kids in AfricaBy Shamala Pulugurtha, A.K.O.M. Writer and Researcher
Quotes of the Month:
“I have heard a lot of people say that the situation in Africa seems hopeless. And yes, there have been seconds when I have been in a village and the problems do seem impossible to fix, but then I realize that if 30 middle and high school age kids in the U.S. can make a difference by building soccer fields that benefits 1,000’s of kids and whole communities of people, then think what would happen if 300, or 3,000 or 3 million kids decide to make a difference. Think of the change we could all make in the world. And then go one step further, what if 30, 300 or 3,000 kids each got a parent or a teacher to help, think of all that we could accomplish.”
“Don’t think you can’t do something just because you are a kid.”
Kyle Weiss, Age 16
Keil Weiss, Co-Founder of FUNDaFIELD
Ready for another day of sports fun
October Amazing Kid! Of the Month:
It is a simple idea that often brings about a big change. The only pre-requisite is hard work. Our Amazing Kids! of the Month story for October exemplifies that fact.
Cofounded by Garrett and Kyle Weiss when they were just 15 and 13, respectively, FUNDaFIELD is a non-profit organization run by kids for kids in Africa. The organization works to provide soccer fields and equipment to the under-privileged children of Africa. The FUNDaFIELD team, which consists of 32 kids mainly from Danville, California, comes up with some amazing ideas to raise funds for their project and have already been successful in funding about five soccer fields across Africa.
Read more about them and be inspired to work hard and make a difference.
Don't forget: If you, or a young person (or persons!) you know, has an amazing project you are involved in, or a special skill, talent or ability you want to tell the world about, be sure to let Amazing Kids! know about it! Simply complete our Amazing Kids! of the Month award online nomination form, visit our AKOM nomination information page (http://www.amazing-kids.org/nomination.htm#nomination) or email us!
FUNDaFIELD – How it All Started
“FUNDaFIELD can't cure a disease. FUNDaFIELD can't fill every empty stomach. FUNDaFIELD can put a smile on a face, where there wasn't one for before,” says the caption on the website of the youth-led organization whose story we are featuring this month. And there have been plenty of smiles to go around as witnessed in pictures of the thousands of kids they have helped since their founding in 2006.
FUNDaFIELD is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of underprivileged children and youth in Africa. The organization is completely run and managed by high school and middle school age kids and works to provide soccer fields and equipment to African schools and communities.
FUNDaFIELD was co-founded by Kyle and Garrett Weiss of Danville, California. It all started when they went to see the 2006 World Cup soccer match in Germany featuring Angola and Iran.
“If you have never been to a World Cup soccer game, let me tell you it is AMAZING. Imagine the Superbowl here in the States and then times it by 10. The streets of the town are closed down, the fans are dressed to support their team and everybody gets to the game about 6 hours before it starts. We were lucky enough to get tickets to the Iran vs. Angola game and while there were tons of fans for Iran, there was only a tiny section of fans from Angola. They were dressed from head to toe in red and they didn’t stop jumping and cheering the whole game. Similarly, the players themselves were so excited to play in their first world cup game ever,” says Kyle.
Although the Angolans were not as competitive as the other teams in the tournament, their spirit and passion was contagious. Garrett and Kyle met some Angolan fans and they shared stories of how kids in Africa didn’t have the same opportunities to play sports that kids in the West had and how the parents were more worried about food, shelter and disease. Sports like soccer were definitely not a priority.
Garrett and Kyle wanted to do something.
“It was the passion the fans displayed that day at the World Cup, combined with our passion for the game of soccer that created FUNDaFIELD,” Kyle asserts.
Some children having fun...
At a FUNDaFIELD field!
How They Do It
British author and cartoonist Ashleigh Brilliant had once said “Good ideas are common – what's uncommon are people who'll work hard enough to bring them about.”
Garrett and Kyle were ready to work hard and came up with an innovative plan to raise money for their project.
“We were at Disneyland and we saw a billboard that had a bunch, 1,000’s of little pictures that together formed one big picture. We decided to do the same thing. We divided each letter in the word FUNDaFIELD into 10,000 little squares on our website. We sell those squares for $1.00 each. On our site you will see the “F” is broken into 10,000 little squares, $1.00 per square. You can buy a square for your mom, dad, teacher, even your dog! When you buy the squares, you tell us which initials you want us to put in the square. If you buy a lot of squares, we will put your photograph or a logo in those squares. When we completely sell all 10,000 squares in one of the FUNDaFIELD letters, we have raised $10,000,” Kyle explains.
At this point we have sold all the squares in the “F, U, N, D,a,F,I,E, and L” and are working on the “D.” Yes, over $90,000!!!” he declares.
Apart from this, they also organize two fundraisers each year and all the money collected is used for building soccer fields in Africa.
This year, FUNDaFIELD was also one of the benefitting organizations at the Journey of Hope Benefit Concert featuring Nobel Peace Prize nominee and author of NY Times bestseller Three Cups of Tea Greg Mortenson. The concert was presented by his award winning youth program Pennies For Peace and took place on September 20th 2009. The event is about inspiring our global community to activism and showcases non-profit organizations created by youth at the exhibit fair.
Also just last month, 11-year-old Kira Weiss, Garrett and Kyle's little sister, came up with a creative plan to involve elementary and middle school children in FUNDaFIELD. The plan, MAKE CHANGE, is simple. Instead of throwing the plastic water bottle next time, cut a slit on the top. Next, print a label that'll soon be available on FUNDaFIELD website and start collecting change – change that is found under the car seat, under the couch or the bed. And, when you send the money to FUNDaFIELD, each participant will receive a prize.
So, be sure to check the FUNDaFIELD website and may be you'll be inspired to help!
The FUNDaFIELD Directors
A team of youthful talent!
The FUNDaFIELD Team
FUNDaFIELD has over 30 managers and directors and all of them are middle and high school age kids. “When we were first starting FUNDaFIELD, we told a few of our friends and they immediately wanted to help. As the word spread, more and more kids started joining FUNDaFIELD,” Kyle says.
So, Garrett and Kyle came up with a system for kids to donate their time supporting the FUNDaFIELD cause. Each member comes up with two fundraisers they want to plan and manage each year. In addition to managing their own events, they all support each other’s events. Some fundraisers are small like holding a bake sale while others are huge like holding Holiday Boutiques, ping-pong tournaments and electronic waste drives.
Today, FUNDaFIELD has 32 kids who are working hard to build soccer fields for kids in Africa. Their names, titles and ages can be seen below:
Garrett Weiss, Age 18 - Executive Director and Co-founder
Kyle Weiss, Age 16 - Executive Director and Co-founder
Cameron Naderi, Age 15 - Managing Director
Justin Walz, Age 16 - Managing Director
Jake Becker, Age 16 - Managing Director
Kristiana Meyer, Age 17, Managing Director
Megan Mendes, Age 15 - Director
Tim Scatterday, Age 15 – Director
Callie Starn, Age 14 - Director
Samantha Vella, Age 16 – Director
McKenna Doliber, Age 14 – Director
Clark Geranen, Age 16 – Director
Christina Coffin, Age 15 - Director
Sam Engs, Age 15 – Director
Ben Panconi, Age 14 – Director
Hunter Doliber, Age 16 – Director
Kira Weiss, Age 11 - Director
Jack Michel, Age 16 - Director
Arman Ghorbani, Age 16 - Associate
Jackson Meyer, Age 14 - Associate
Zack Chang, Age 14 – Associate
Chris Gailey, Age 16 - Associate
Tim McKee, Age 16 – Associate
Mary Kate Rupley, Age 15 - Associate
Taylor James, Age 15 – Associate
Kiely Morris, Age 14 - Associate
Jamie Chandler, Age 11 - Associate
Jane Nho, Age 14 - Associate
Gianna Coffin, Age 11 - Associate
Keon Naderi, Age 14 - Associate
Stephen Kui, Age 16 - Webmaster
“We keep track of hours and there are a lot of them. Our FUNDaFIELD team members also earn the Presidents Volunteer Service Award for the hours they volunteer,” Kyle informs.
Game on! Children enjoying soccer…
On a FUNDaFIELD field!
To-date, FUNDaFIELD has funded five soccer fields across Africa, two of which are already in use while the other three are under construction. The fields include:
- Mdluli High School in Hluvukani, South Africa
- Manyangana High School in Utah, South Africa
- SportCourt street soccer pitch in Gulu, Uganda
- Gandini Primary School in Malindi, Kenya
- St. Michaels High School in Malindi, Kenya
They also organized a soccer tournament in South Africa in the summer of 2008. A group of FUNDaFIELD team members traveled to Africa for the event. It was grand success with more than 1200 people attending the event on the final day. And, here is what Kyle had to say about Africa:
“Before I ever went to Africa, I just assumed that since the people in Africa didn’t have the things we have, because many of them live in mud huts with thatch roofs without running water and electricity, that the people would be sad and unhappy. But when you go to Africa it is not that way at all. The people and communities are some of the nicest and most generous I have ever met. When I see someone I don’t know, I smile at them and they smile right back at me.”
This year Garrett and Kyle worked with Matt Kennedy and Margaret Chang of Global Youth Partnership of Africa to organize the Uganda world games.
Ultimately, FUNDaFIELD team hopes to collect $100,000 for soccer fields and equipment in Africa.
“We hope to bring to African children the same enjoyment that my brother and I experienced growing up on a soccer field,” Garrett says.
We wish the entire amazing team from FUNDaFIELD the very best in bringing thousands’ more smiles to kids in Africa in the coming years! Go, team!!!
The FUNDaFIELD Directors
Receiving the Presidential Service Award!
- To learn more about FUNDaFIELD and to be a part of this amazing project, please visit http://www.FUNDaFIELD.com
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