Amazing Kid: Kyle & Garrett Weiss
Filed under: Amazing Kids
Amazing Kid: Kyle Weiss
Home Town: Danville, Calif.
School: Monta Vista High School, Danville, Calif.
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Coldstone Cake Batter
Amazing Kid: Garrett Weiss
Grade: College Sophomore
Home Town: Danville, Calif.
School: University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Oreo Cookies and Cream
Why Kyle & Garrett are Amazing: A trip to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, where they saw the team from the African country Angola play, was an eyeopener for soccer enthusiasts Kyle and Garrett Weiss. Although they knew about the existence of poverty and AIDS in Africa, the brothers tell ParentDish they really didn't understand the extent or the impact. But, after seeing the small section of Angolan fans and speaking with some of those who were able to travel to Germany to see their team play, they started to see the big role soccer plays in African communities.
"In Africa, it's the only sport -- and it's also the only activity," Garrett tells ParentDish. "You can't watch a movie, you can't go online or go on a computer. Soccer is the only thing kids participate in besides school, work and work around the house."
When they got home, Kyle and Garrett decided they wanted to somehow help kids play soccer in Africa. At first, they thought they would raise money to buy uniforms and soccer balls; but a friend convinced them that these would do little good unless the kids had soccer fields where they could actually play.
So, the boys started raising funds to build soccer fields for kids throughout Africa. Currently, through their nonprofit organization, FUNDaFIELD, the Weiss brothers have raised over $130,000 to build nine fields, seven of which have already been built -- three in Uganda, two in South Africa and two in Kenya -- and one more in Uganda and in Swaziland that are now scheduled for construction.
In addition to building fields, Kyle and Garrett also hold soccer tournaments for kids on their fields, supplying uniforms and balls, and even a prize -- which, in the case of this winter's upcoming tournament in Uganda, just happens to be a goat. They also work with other nonprofit organizations to help African youth, such as Coaches Across Continents, which has used the fields built by the boys to do HIV and AIDS training using soccer as the language of instruction.
Kyle, who has taken the lead on day-to-day operations at FUNDaFIELD since Garrett went off to college two years ago, says the organization is now made up of 36 middle and high school kids all working together to raise funds. That includes four managers who supervise teams of people and help raise funds -- especially for the youngest kids, 11 or 12, called the "minis," like the boys' sister and her friends.
But that model will be changing somewhat: "The direction we're going in is high school clubs and college chapters," Kyle tells ParentDish. "We have five high school clubs and Garrett has set up a chapter at USC; each of them are raising money to build a field."
Recent Recognition: 2010 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award (Kyle); Nike 2009 Athletes Serve Grant Award
Kyle's Advice to Kids: It's all about finding something you're passionate about because, if you do, it'll make it 10 times better doing something you love and it'll make it easier even to do the hard stuff you don't like.
Garrett's Advice to Kids: If you have an idea, the most important thing is that you need to convince yourself that you'll be able to do it; because once you convince yourself, everyone one will want to help you and you'll get outside support for your idea.
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.