In October, a Danville teen will be honored for his work to improve the lives of children around the world. Along with five other young adults, Kyle Weiss will receive the World of Children award for his nonprofit FUNDaFIELD.
"As the World of Children award celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, we are deeply inspired by the remarkable contributions our honorees have made to changing the trajectory of children's lives for the better," said Harry Leibowitz, World of Children Award co-founder and co-chairman.
In 2007, Weiss and his brother founded FUNDaField to build soccer fields in regions where children have experienced conflict or major trauma. Inspired by African soccer fans they met at the World Cup Games in Germany, the Weiss brothers soon learned of the therapeutic benefits that sports can have on young people who have been child soldiers, orphans or victims of disease.
Working with kids in the United States to raise funds, FUNDaFIELD has since built fields in South Africa, Kenya and Uganda and are now working on plans to build fields in Swaziland, The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Pader in Northern Uganda and Haiti. Weiss has at least 30 volunteers in middle and high schools as well as in college who are dedicated to raising funds.
"We really promote youth getting involved in service. We have 12-year-old girls out there raising money. If we get them out there at a young age then they'll get in that mindset," the Monte Vista grad said.
In order to stay a member of the organization, students need to hold two fundraisers a year and volunteer for 25 hours at other people's fundraisers. Weiss said younger members will usually hold bake sales or dog washes; one member even held a ping pong competition.
The honor has been dubbed the "Nobel Prize for Child Advocate"" and includes a cash grant of up to $75,000 for honorees' programs. Last year, Weiss was named a Huggable Hero in a national community service recognition program sponsored by Build-A-Bear Workshop.