Some people "choose to matter."
Geneva's Sydney Smith is one of them.
Sydney is a Geneva High School freshman athlete who is taking part in the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy. As part of the "Causes for Freedom" campaign, Julie has put on fundraisers—primarily called "Cleats for a Cause"—to raise enough money to bring shoes and soccer equipment to the Uhuru Football Academy, whose mission is to build the the first youth football academy in Africa.
Education is the cornerstone of the Uhuru Academy, and it is providing about 423 kids an opportunity they never have had before. Sydney's efforts already have collected or purchased enough gear to fill four 55-gallon drums.
Geneva Principal Tom Rogers brought Sydney's project to the attention of Geneva Patch and asked for our help in promoting it.
Starting Feb. 1, you can vote for Sydney's project in the "Choose to Matter" contest on the juliefoudyleadership.com website. Voting ends Feb. 28.
The person whose project wins the most votes has a chance to go to London and see the 2012 Olympic Games. The winner also becomes a junior leader for the McDonald's "Champions of Play" program.
"The trip to London would be a dream, but honestly she's hoping to become a junior leader for McDonald's 'Champions of Play' program more!" Jeannette Smith said.
In her presentation, Sydney was asked, "How did 'Choosing to Matter' affect you?" Here's her answer:
"Organizing these events taught me a lot about soccer around the world, but I learned even more about myself," she said. "I don’t feel like I’m 'just a kid' anymore. I can make anything happen, if I keep trying and never give up. I’ve had a blast helping Uhuru Football Academy, and now lots of my friends are getting involved with causes of their own. I hope you’ve been inspired and 'Choose to Matter,' too!"