In the last few days, I’ve received two inspiring emails about Darfur United that speak to the power of youth wanting to make a difference.  It has been simply amazing to me to see the number of communities and individuals come forward to support this project.

I received this email from Jeanette, a teacher at Wilde Lake Middle School, interested in rallying her school to sponsor Darfur United:

Hello WLMS family,

So I received this email from a student today:

I wanted to tell you but did not get the chance to about how thrilled I was about the whole event and how it was run! I had such a great time last night and everything, like I said, was run so very well! I also wanted to thank you for everything you have taught us about Darfur over the past couple of days. Everything we have learned about Darfur has really opened my eyes and made me want to make a difference and use my voice to help change the world. I want to raise money to help the people over there and try to get others to learn more about what is happening as well. I used to think that one persons voice or efforts could not be noticed over everyone else’s but something that I have learned is that it can and you can work hard and make yourself be heard if you set your mind to it. I consider it a privilege to have an english teacher that is educating us on these topics and encouraging us to make a make a difference. I know not everyone is given that great privilege but I feel very lucky to be given it. Thank you again for Mrs.Miller and your efforts regarding voices of the youth, and for everything you have taught and continue to teach us about Darfur and helping change the world as much as you can!

I cannot explain how much the kids responded to helping to raise money for a charity that helps those who are suffering.  It brought out the best in them TRULY.  You have no idea how serious they were about the ‘jobs’ they were given during yesterday’s event.  Kids you wouldnt expect were totally empowered in selling raffles, working flea market, selling concessions etc.

So these things have inspired me….Many of you have been talking about how the kids seem to be a little crazy right now.  I am wondering if we need something to bring us all together, something to bring out that community spirit and feel.

Jeanette and her students are going to sell Darfur United bracelets and work to fundraise $5,000 to be an Honorary Coach! It’s amazing to see communities who have been working for peace in Sudan for so long feel connected to such a project.

Then this morning, my inbox had a message from a generous soccer mom. Her son Dylan, who is on Mark’s team (DU coach) and plays with Gabriel’s son, turns 10 this month. In lieu of presents, he is asking for donations to sponsor one player’s nutrition stipend and Viva World cup entrance fee, or to cover a Darfur United manager’s salary. Both of these are essential for the players to be fully prepared for the Viva World Cup. Dylan’s dedication to sharing his love for soccer with refugees living thousands of miles away motivates me even more!

As a community we can make Darfur United happen. For everyone, everywhere it provides an opportunity for us to share what sports has done for us. Thank you Jeanette and Wilde Lake Middle School and Dylan Bartlett for inspiring all of us.

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