The Century Council's Tyler Allen traveled with the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy contest winners to document their time at the Olympics.
A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of traveling to the London Olympic Games with the winners of Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy’s “Choose to Matter” contest, held with longtime Century Council partner Girl Talk.
Moriah Wilson, Jackie Schaefer, Amanda Christianson and Gulafsha Kamrulhodda Ansari successfully started service projects in their communities. They won this contest by convincing over 60,000 voters that their projects had the most significant impact in their communities.
The girls’ reward was a trip to London to as Youth Ambassadors for McDonald’s Champions of Play program. I wasn’t quite sure what that title would entail, but we soon found out it meant we were treated like Queens at the Games. We attended the Women’s Final soccer match, and were taken on a tour of the many wonders of London. We were treated to lunch at the USA Olympic house, and were able to spend quality time with Gabby Douglas, Trey Hardee, Marlen Esparza and Julie Foudy. We lived the Olympic experience to the fullest.
I got to know the girls and their guardians and learned about their impressive projects. There’s no doubt in my mind that Julie Foudy’s Sports Leadership Academies and Girl Talk are fostering positive and healthy lifestyle values in girls around the world. The compassion these girls showed through their projects and the kindness they displayed when teaching younger kids from Germany and Japan soccer with Mia Hamm showed a maturity not often found in kids their age.
Gulafsha in particular amazed me with her efforts to empower girls from her small, traditional town in India to follow their dreams and play soccer in the USA. Gulafsha’s mother had never left the village, so these moves were quite a leap for a 17-year-old!
It made me so proud to have The Century Council as a sponsor with Julie Foudy and Girl Talk for this wonderful reward for these girls. Our Ask, Listen, Learn Superstars set great examples by staying healthy and active, excelling in academics, and/or helping out in their community. Most importantly, Superstars say "yes" to a healthy lifestyle and "no" to underage drinking. I know these girls have the strength and charisma to make a difference in their communities, and there’s no question they will be leaders modeling healthy lifestyles in their peer groups in years to come.