Inspired by opportunities to create innovative partnerships, GRS has joined international philanthropist and entrepreneur Bobby Sager and internationally acclaimed musician Sting as the key partner in the “Hope is a Game-Changer” project, through which GRS and its partners in six countries will receive 10,000 indestructible soccer balls for use in programming. The project was launched on June 8th, 2010 at the graduation celebration for 110 girls who recently completed GRS’ Skillz Street program at the Football for Hope Centre, in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. “The slightest ray of hope can ignite the human spirit’s ability to overcome,” says Sager, who sees the balls as a symbol of hope and looks to GRS to realize his vision for social change.
In 2009, the Sager Family Foundation joined forces with Sting and inventors Tim Jahnigen and Kevin McCarthy to help develop a soccer ball that can withstand anything. Sting and Sager started Hope Is A Game-Changer, funded in part through proceeds from Sager’s book, “The Power of the Invisible Sun,” to deliver the balls to children in some of the toughest locations around the world. The ball itself is a symbol of hope – it’s impervious to wear, UV, water chemicals and puncture. According to Sager, “Hope is the most important thing that people need to move forward.” But this project is not about charity. In line with Sager’s philosophy that there are no handouts, every child and coach who receives a ball must earn it. By working with GRS, the Sager Family Foundation ensures synergy between their mission for the balls and GRS’ work to provide youth with HIV prevention education and life skills. Kirk Friedrich, Managing Director and Co-Founder of GRS, has said that “Grassroot Soccer is thrilled to partner with Hope is a Game-Changer to protect and improve the lives of young people around the world. Both organizations focus on developing and implementing innovative strategies to use sport as a tool for social change.”