Students kick off their shoes for charity

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October 5, 2007

2:04 AM

Sunday, kick off your shoes to kick off a great fundraiser. Building Tomorrow is sponsoring the Grassroots Soccer Tournament, a charity event to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS prevention. Barksdale Field will accommodate the three-person co-ed barefoot teams as they lose their shoes to kick HIV/AIDS.

p. Building Tomorrow is a student organization at the College that promotes HIV/AIDS education and awareness in underprivileged countries. According to the Student Activities website, the organization is “a non-profit initiative aimed at giving students the opportunity to raise funds and awareness for infrastructure projects benefiting orphans impacted by the disease.” Each year, members choose an impoverished area where outside help would be beneficial. This year, the team will work to build a school in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda.

p. Past Building Tomorrow endeavors range from building clinics to dispensing HIV/AIDS education to bonding with orphaned children already afflicted with the disease. Throughout the school year, Building Tomorrow will host fundraising events to raise money to purchase building supplies for the construction projects. Students who go on the trip pay the expenses out of pocket ­— all fundraising directly supports the charity effort.

p. Ashlei Cooke ’09, the president of Building Tomorrow, noted that the Grassroots Soccer Tournament contributes not only to the HIV/AIDS awareness efforts, but also to promoting youth soccer in sub-Saharan Africa. Grassroots Soccer is a national organization with chapters at college campuses including the College, Virginia Tech and Dartmouth College. “The money we raise [helps us hold] soccer camps for young children in Africa to teach them AIDS awareness and prevention,” Cooke said.

p. The soccer tournament features a unique element — all players will be barefoot. Co-ed teams of three will compete in an elimination-style series of games on Barksdale Field. The suggested donation per player is $10, and the event includes food, music and a raffle for prizes. Cooke said that the prizes will also be awarded to the winning team. Additionally she emphasized team fundraising. “We encourage fundraising, and the team that raises the most money will also win prizes,” she said. Students who prefer to be spectators rather than players are also welcome to come, watch and learn more about the Building Tomorrow and Grassroots Soccer initiatives.

p. This Sunday’s barefoot soccer tournament is the first of several events Building Tomorrow anticipates hosting on campus. Students interested in fielding a team can sign up at the University Center tables or at Barksdale the day of the event. For more information about Building Tomorrow visit www.wm.edu/so/destinationkampala.

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