Last summer was one of the craziest times of my life. Thanks to FUNDaFIELD.org (the organization my brother and I started) winning a Nickelodeon Halo Award, I had Nick Cannon busting through my front door dressed as a pizza guy, Heidi Klum kissing my cheek on national television, and David Beckham taking his cleats off so I could shoot on him with them. The insanity went on and on, and it was undeniably awesome.
While living the high life was cool, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was doing something wrong. Sure, Miley Cyrus and I made a great profile picture, but I was in the position I was in, because of our work in third world countries, not because I was a rock star (I have major rhythm issues). That's when I began researching, trying to figure out what all these people believed in and how they were making a difference in the world. Many stars were doing incredible work, but one young actor I had met stood out for a variety of reasons.
Ryan Potter, star of Nickelodeon's hit show Supah Ninjas, is no ordinary 16-year-old actor. While balancing a demanding career, intense martial arts, school, and life, Ryan founded his own organization, Toy Box Of Hope. Ryan saw the problems and challenges facing the homeless of his home city of L.A. and decided to get up and do something about it. Ryan's Toy Box Of Hope is bold in that it strives to eradicate youth homelessness from the city of Los Angeles, but simple in it's belief in the power of hope, which can come from something as simple as giving a toy to a child.
I immediately wanted to work with Ryan because the core of both of our missions revolves around giving hope to children. My experiences in Africa had taught me how powerful hope can be. FUNDaFIELD uses soccer as a form of therapy for kids who have been through a horrible trauma such as a war, or natural disaster. Something as simple as giving a child a jersey, or letting them play on a real field, can give these kids something to strive for, and that makes all the difference.
When Ryan and I decided we wanted to hold a fundraiser together, we knew we wanted to go big. We decided to have a celebrity soccer game called Chance To Play 2012. Chance To Play is all about giving people all around the world the chance to play they deserve. Both of our organizations consist of kids helping kids, and we thought that we could not only raise money for our own work, but also inspire other young kids to make a difference.
On August 5 at the University of Southern California, over 30 teen celebrities are lacing up their soccer cleats to help us make a difference. The coolest part is that fans that raise money for the organizations involved, will actually get the chance to play in the celebrity game. We will have special performances by IM5, and many others, delicious food, an amazing raffle, and celebrity meet and greets.
I obviously want everyone to visit ChanceToPlay2012.com and get tickets. My organization does amazing work, and a small donation covers your ticket cost, but that is not the only reason people should come. I know that whether you are old, young, famous, or not, you will leave Sunday night inspired.