INSPIRED LIVES: Africaids WhizzKids United – Durban, South Africa
In life we are often blessed with opportunities to connect with individuals whose passion for service motivates us to lead a less self-centered existence. Such individuals remind you that true humility encompasses not thinking less of yourself, but instead thinking of yourself less. It is this exact sentiment that inspired me to select my friend and fellow-Japanese Exchange & Teaching (JET) Programme Alum Theo Mitchell and his organization, the Durban, South Africa based Africaid's WhizzKids United, as my inaugural "Inspired Lives" feature.
Hailing from San Francisco, CA, Theo's journey to the Marketing & Social Media Coordinator post at Africaid's WhizzKids United, an organization that specializes in teaching kids about the risks of HIV/AIDS via soccer, has been peppered with seemingly back-to-back adventures. Following graduation from the University of San Francisco in 2007, Theo was selected as a participant in the JET Programme through which he taught English to elementary school students in Naruto, Tokushima, Japan. Theo followed his two-year stint in the Far East with a Masters degree in Sports Management from New York University. As fate would have it, months before completing his Masters Theo would become aware of WhizzKids United and fall head over heals for the organization's mission prompting him to move to Durban in July for an invaluable 8-month volunteer opportunity.
Founded in 2006 and registered in South Africa and the United Kingdom, Africaid's WhizzKids United's platform allows it to respond to the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic amongst youth in South Africa by pairing it with the most globally renown sport, soccer. Based in Kwazulu-natal state, one of the country's most at risk areas with a HIV prevalence rate of 16.5%, the organization has numerous initiatives in place to help carry out its cutting-edge goals. One initiative in particular that Theo spoke very highly of is the one-of-a-kind WhizzKids United Health Academy, which serves as a one-stop shop for HIV/AIDS care and other medical services. Excitingly enough, the Health Academy is also endorsed by FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), which has partnered with WhizzKids United to create the "Football for Hope" center. As a part of the partnership, FIFA will put in an astro turf soccer field at the Health Academy.
Aside from its unique objective of delivering HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment to support youth worldwide through the medium of soccer and a major endorsement from FIFA, there are many tangible assets that separate Africaid's WhizzKids United from other NGOs in S.A. Its GLOBAL cast of 20 locals and 10 foreigners hailing from across the WORLD are responsible for carrying out the organization's programs in the townships and tending to pertinent business in the office. Indeed, there is no denying the inspired work of Theo and his colleagues. With 6 months left of his WhizzKids contract, Theo desires to continue building the organization's social media following that he has already helped to increase.
It is through "children's love of the beautiful game" that the "Inspired Lives" behind Africaid's WhizzKids United are making a substantive impact in our GLOBAL community and saving the precious lives of youth in the process.
For more info on Africaid's WhizzKids United and to donate to their cause:
Check out their official site: www.whizzkidsunited.org
Follow them on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AfricaidsWKU
Watch their videos on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/WhizzKidsUnited