September 20, 2018
About 5,000 people become infected with HIV per day (HIV.gov). Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a sexually transmitted infection that interferes with the body's way of fighting infection (HIV.gov). By breaking down the body's cell defense walls, HIV is considered one of the most dangerous, and deadly diseases. Without treatment HIV can progress to AIDS, a life threatening disease which is almost always fatal. In most developing countries HIV isn't addressed and is commonly brushed aside. According to World Heath Association, “More than 95% of HIV infections are in developing countries,…” (http://www.who.int/immunization/topics/hiv/en/index1.html.) Grassroot Soccer, was founded by Tommy Clark and Ethan Zohn in 2002 to break this social norm of discreteness over important issues, including HIV, to youth in developing countries. Grassroot Soccer provides HIV testing and healthcare services, lifelong mentors, and vital education to adolescents across the globe.
Grassroot Soccer cultivates adolescent's lives by educating youth in developing countries. The mission of Grassroot Soccer is to utilize the capability of soccer to, “...educate, inspire, and mobilize youth in developing countries to overcome their greatest health challenges, live healthier, more productive lives, and be agents for change in their communities.”. Tommy Clark, the founder and CEO of Grassroot Soccer, devolved the idea for Grassroot Soccer in late 2002 while teaching English and coaching soccer in Zimbabwe. After AIDS struck Zimbabwe, Clark realized the lack of communication on HIV in developing countries similar to Zimbabwe. Tommy Clark's vision of Grassroot Soccer has helped over two-million adolescents be reached in just fifteen years.
There are eleven head global directors which handle finances, research, curriculum, strategic planning, marketing, management, revenue and fundraising that provides Grassroot Soccer with the fundamentals they need to reach youth globally. The global directors are based out of South Africa, the UK, the US, and Zimbabwe. One can reach Grassroot Soccer at their global headquarters, “15 Lebanon Street Hanover, NH 03755”. Volunteers at Grassroot Soccer are vital pieces of how Grassroot Soccer runs. By holding 3v3 soccer tournaments, and a World AIDS Day Gala in London that raises money to utilize and become closer to completing their mission. Volunteers at Grassroot Soccer must apply for the position and must have, “...graduated college and be at least 21 years old prior to their deployment as a volunteer.”. Volunteers at Grassroot Soccer typically, “...have a strong passion for youth development through sport (particularly soccer), education and/or global health.” . Furthermore, Grassroot Soccer continues to educate youth in developing countries and forms lifelong leaders.
The purpose of Grassroot Soccer is to educate youth in developing countries on formerly undiscussed problems. Grassroot Soccer established multiple goals that act as targets for Grassroot Soccer participants and graduates. One major goal for Grassroot Soccer is that, “...graduates demonstrate significant improvements in knowledge of risky behaviors and awareness of local resources for support.”. In addition to gaining knowledge on risky behaviors, “100% of Grassroot Soccer participants have access to a trained, supportive, accessible role model.” As well as Grassroot Soccer graduates are, “much more likely to know their status, much more likely to talk to friends and family about health issues, much more likely to stay in treatment, and more likely to access biomedical prevention. They are set up for a lifetime of accessing health services.”. In order to reach these goals Grassroot Soccer uses SKILLZ curricula, which connects soccer-based activities and dynamic discussions to engross learners in essential knowledge. Grassroot Soccer participants are trained by caring coaches, who act as health educators and become trusted mentors. By connecting personally with Grassroot Soccer participants coaches become trusted, and respected mentors playing a substantial role in keeping participants out of risky activities. Alongside creating valuable role models for Grassroot participants Grassroot Soccer provides referrals to health services, and social support for those who access health services. Grassroot Soccer organizes soccer tournaments that offer HIV and Malaria testing in a safe and inclusive environment. In addition Grassroot Soccer provides, “... young people with the life skills they need to become agents of change in their communities, so they can break down harmful social norms that negatively impact their health.”. However, Grassroot Soccer is not run alone. Grassroot Soccer has thirty-seven current supporters and sponsors, along with forty-two past supports, and twelve partners that donate and help raise awareness about the dangers of HIV, and Grassroot Soccer's mission. To ensure each goal for Grassroot Soccer participants is met, “ All Grassroot Soccer Participants are matched with role models…”. These role models act as mentors that guide the participants towards positive life paths, and smart choices. Along with being matched to a role model Grassroot Soccer, “... trains local youth as ‘Caring Coaches' to deliver GRS's comprehensive SRHR education programming and to promote access to health services among adolescents in multiple community-based settings.”. Grassroot Soccer uses newsletters, along with many social platforms including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn to tweet and post about upcoming events and to spread the Grassroot Soccer mission to the public. They also hold events, and sponsor marathons to help get Grassroot Soccer's name out in hopes of others joining in the fight to educate youth on HIV. Grassroot Soccer can be seeked mostly through social platforms, and alongside the Grassroot Soccer website. Grassroot Soccer targets adults and youth that are passionate about education through sport, young adults looking to get involved in their community, and soccer players, coaches, and celebrities looking to make a difference globally.
Grassroot Soccer's most rewarding accomplishment is creating leaders of change throughout the communities in which they reach. This accomplishment is shown through Athiphila Sidondi, or “Athi”. Athi is a Grassroot Soccer Coach in Khayelitsha, South Africa. Throughout her lifetime she has used soccer as an escape from the consistent violence, and discrimination in her community. Before GRS Athi pretended to be a boy in order to play soccer. When her fellow teammates saw her after school wearing her uniform that included a skirt she was teased. After discovering Grassroot Soccer Athi underwent a tough screening in order to become a coach. Following becoming a GRS Coach Athi has been educated on the dangers of HIV, and continues to educate the youth she coaches. The GRS Program has made it possible for leaders like Athi to stay out of risky situations, and keep others staying out of risky situations as well. By creating leaders of change GRS provides coaches and participants with lifelong friends, and mentors that have helped shape numerous lives similar to Athi's.
Grassroot Soccer empowers youth to take a stand against HIV and other health challenges by supplying testing centers, and social support for participants with HIV. Alongside creating lifelong mentors to empower youth to become impactful leaders of change in their communities, and stay away from risky behaviors. HIV, and AIDS continues to spread rapidly throughout the globe, killing over 35 million people. Through the sport of soccer GRS has been able to assist, and further prevent over a million adolescents with health problems. GRS relies on donations to their website, https://impact.grassrootsoccer.org/give/162278/#!/donation/checkout from you, and other donors to help youth thrive and live better lives. As well as taking part in the GRS Charity Game Campaign, and applying to be a GRS leader. Be the change you wish to seek, and join the GRS mission.
Works Cited Page
“Grassroot Soccer.” Charity Navigator , 2018,
“HIV / AIDS.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 3 Mar.
“Home.” Grassroot Soccer, 2018, www.grassrootsoccer.org/.
UNAIDSDate. “Global Statistics.” HIV.gov, 25 Sept. 2018,
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