CMC Magazine is Claremont McKenna College's publication for alumni, parents, current students, donors, and the greater higher education community.
Issue link: http://magazine.cmc.edu/i/104159
Kick-starting FUNDaFIELD: Soccer for Social Good Kyle Weiss '15 has so far picked up three very notable awards for his tireless work building soccer fields for children in developing countries Because every kid deserves a chance to play. His motto may be simple, but the actual execution of his vision has been anything but. When he juggled CMC classes with organizing a celebrity youth soccer game last summer at USC, he called it one of the hardest things he'd ever done. Still, Kyle Weiss '15 is committed to his FUNDaFIELD start-up with exceptional intensity. He had already started the nonprofit with his brother before enrolling in CMC. The siblings were inspired at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, where they sat with Angolan fans during that country's first World Cup appearance. Weiss learned of the dire state of Angola and how so few people can even afford to leave the country, let alone attend a professional match. He also learned that to the youth of Africa, soccer means everything, but lacking resources, most have to kick a makeshift ball of garbage bags around a dusty lot. "We wanted to send over equipment to Africa at first, but decided that the best approach would be trying to build a field," Weiss says. "As a 13-year-old kid then, I had no scope of what we wanted to do, or how big things would get. It seemed like an easy way to help kids. And the fact that we were (and still are) all kids was extremely motivating." With as little as a $1 donation, the public can visit the FUNDaFIELD website and sponsor the development of a piece of a soccer field. The dollars add up, and for every $10,000 raised, a new field is grazed for the children. "At this point," Weiss says, "we try to build our fields in areas of Third World countries that have gone through traumas or conflicts. We like to utilize the therapeutic aspects of sports to help young people who have gone though these horrific experiences. We also build fields at schools, which has been shown to increase attendance and enrollment." He counts CMC as a huge supporter of his project. And as his venture has gained more and more accolades and recognition, he has focused the efforts to have the most impact possible. For his work in child advocacy, Weiss recently won the World of Children Award, which is commonly referred to as the "Nobel Prize for Child Advocates." He was also named one of the world's 25 Most Powerful and Influential Young People. In 2011, he won a Nickelodeon HALO Award. Ask him what his biggest hope is for his young organization and he points to the work at hand, and the idea that youth can begin contributing back to society––even as adolescents, teens, or college students–– that no age is too young (or old) for caring for others. "We want to be building more fields every year and to work with kids to bring hope and change into their lives," Weiss says. "We want to keep motivating kids in the United States to raise money and learn to give back at a young age." 12 As their story is being written for this issue, Ingrasci, Temple, and Gregg are still on the road, closing in on the last leg of their film tour, which will end back in the Guatemalan village where they started. Like their weeks in Guatemala, they've been blogging along the way, posting photos, film clips, and even new ways to raise money for microfinance. "This tour provides us a unique opportunity to highlight some incredibly important issues surrounding poverty, both in the United States and abroad," Ingrasci says. Says Gregg, "We wanted to make sure this was not just a film, but an organization that allowed people to make real impact." "Hannah is a great example of what CMC gave us––the ability to collaborate with fellow, like-minded students," Temple adds. In fact, "when we came back from Guatemala, the College was the first to support us," Ingrasci says. That's when Michael Lang, David Doss, and Jeff Klein signed on as executive producers of the documentary. "I've been impressed with Zach and Chris since the moment I met them, over a year ago," Klein says. "They have an uncommon commitment to helping others. And they listen to and appreciate feedback. I was thrilled that I was able to introduce them to David Doss and Mike Lang, who brought their own unique insights and talents to the project. It's been a lot of fun to work with them." "I'm really proud to be associated with everyone involved in this inspirational film," says Lang. "It's also been a lot of fun working with fellow alumni Jeff Klein and David Doss on this project." "It's a testament," Temple says, "to the person Claremont McKenna creates, and the network it makes." Doing well while doing good So what accounts for the shift toward more interest in social entrepreneurship? Technology, for starters, which has leveled the globe for creative and innovative partnerships across the world, on a 24/7 business and C l a r e m o n t Mc K e n n a C o l l e g e