Wellington, FL – June 7, 2013 – It was a busy five months for JustWorld Ambassadors, but the numbers are finally in for the 2013 JustWorld Team Challenge. It was Team Guatemala who won the challenge this year, raising more than $31,000 through hard work, fundraisers and generous donations. Three teams representing JustWorld projects in Guatemala, Honduras and Cambodia raised over $87,000 in total–an unprecedented amount raised by young rider fundraising initiatives. JustWorld International is a not-for-profit humanitarian organization that funds life-changing nutrition, health and hygiene, education, and leaderships and cultural development programs for impoverished children in the three represented countries.
The Team Challenge began January 1st and ran through May. Two co-captains, one based on the West Coast and one on the East Coast of the United-States, led each team. The teams were comprised of JustWorld Ambassadors consisting of Juniors, Amateurs, Professionals and Technical Officials. The Team Challenge opened a new outlet for JustWorld Ambassadors; teaching them about raising awareness of the JustWorld projects and raising funds for these projects by utilizing e-mail, phones and social media to capture the technology of today, and in doing so, raise awareness of those in need. The teams created their own innovative ideas to raise funds for their country’s project. They created their own Facebook Groups and websites, and provided up-to-date information about their mission to spread the word about JustWorld.
In total, the Team Challenge was nothing short of a phenomenal success. With over $87,000 raised for the ongoing projects in the three countries, Ambassadors from 15 different countries across the globe united. In North America over 27 of the United States and five provinces in Canada were represented.
Team Guatemala raised $31,221 through their efforts. With West Coast co-captain Morgan Dickerson and East Coast co-captain Kira Kerkorian, Team Guatemala worked to raise funds to continue providing scholarships to attend school, educational reinforcement lessons, and access to a healthy community kitchen and free medical clinic. Guatemala is an impoverished Latin American country, where three quarters of the country lives below the poverty line. For Guatemalan children, this means many of them do not have access to health care, proper nutrition or education. JustWorld partners with Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) Los Patojos to establish a safe learning environment for more than 180 children in the dangerous community of Jocotenango. Team Guatemala would like to specifically thank the Ziegler Family for their generous donation to their team.
“The Team Challenge was probably one of the best things I have done with JustWorld. I have only been an Ambassador for three years, and the support and energy I witnessed from the Team Challenge was great. I was so thankful to be a part of such a dedicated team,” Dickerson described. “It really brought all of the Ambassadors closer together, and we worked a lot to try and coordinate different things. I was so amazed by the amount of supporters and the dedication; it really gave Team Guatemala a fighting spirit.”
Madison Bradshaw on the West Coast worked in tandem with East Coast co-captain Max Beaumont to raise awareness and funds for Team Cambodia. Cambodia is still recovering from the national trauma of Pol Pot’s brutal regime and genocide from roughly 35 years ago. The country now struggles with a lack of free education and extreme poverty-particularly in rural areas where 92 percent of the impoverished population lives. JustWorld partnered with the People Improvement Organization in Phnom Penh to address this problem and has built two schools and funds the education of 800 children. Team Cambodia was able to raise $28,608 and had a generous donation from the Rizvi Family. They also saw great success from International Donors and saw repeated donations from several donors.
“As a Co-Captain I realized that we needed a lot more organization on the West Coast, where we don’t have the same level of support, adult guidance and leadership,” Bradshaw explained. “I was trying to get the other Ambassadors to create their own initiatives, try new thing and get more kids involved. A lot of them want to gain more involvement, but they don’t necessarily know how. The Team Challenge gave them a concrete way to do that-it gave them ideas and tangible goals. We had ambassadors that really rose to the occasion.”
“We had really creative ideas involving golf carts at the horse shows, cup cake sales, belt sales, and even made our own swag bags that were really popular. One of the best things we did was the Million Dollar Grand Prix project where we had all of the riders sign a JustWorld saddle pad, and then raffled it off. You can also see many of our supporters wearing bracelets that the kids from Cambodia made themselves, it was such a group effort,” Bradshaw said. “I would like to see more involvement next year from Ambassadors in other Zones and countries; I think that the Team Challenge has even more potential to make an impact.”
West Coast Captain Sarah Abdi and East Coast Captain Ali Lieberman represented Team Honduras. These co-captains raised awareness for the second poorest country in Central America. Honduras suffers from extraordinarily unequal distribution of wealth and high unemployment. JustWorld has worked throughout Honduras to address the education, health and nutrition of children in impoverished communities. JustWorld currently works with local NGO Compartir to bring education and social development to children through the mobile library, which reaches 2,500 children in slums around Tegucigalpa. This team raised $27,196 to help JustWorld continue their mission in Honduras. Katie Quirk generously donated to their cause, and Team Honduras had the most International Donors.
“The Team Challenge was a really awesome experience, definitely hard work, but so rewarding,” Lieberman said. “I think the greatest thing I will take away is the feeling of making a difference for them. You are doing philanthropy for them, but the work you are doing also helps you to become an even better person. It is such satisfaction to know that you have helped them. This is something I never would have had if I hadn’t been involved with JustWorld, this challenge has opened my eyes to so many possibilities.”
Lieberman concluded, “Such a fabulous experience, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to lead the team and work with the JustWorld staff. I am so glad I was able to help the kids in Honduras, even if it was only in a small way.”
If you are interested in becoming involved in the 2014 Team Challenge, please contact JustWorld Ambassador Coordinator Amber Warren at email@example.com. Although the program does not begin until January, you can start fundraising initiatives in your own community, work to spread the word through friends and family, and begin raising donations to help JustWorld continue to make an impact in impoverished countries. Know that you are able to help make a change in the world with the JustWorld Team Challenge.
Founded in 2003 by Jessica Newman, JustWorld International is a not-for-profit, humanitarian organization, which funds life-changing nutrition, health and hygiene, education, as well as leadership and cultural development programs for impoverished children in Cambodia, Honduras and Guatemala. There are currently more than 500 Rider and Technical Official Ambassadors representing 40 different countries, whose efforts to support JustWorld’s projects have raised in excess of $6 million to date. For more information on JustWorld, please visit www.justworldinternational.org.
JustWorld International is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in the United States and a registered Association 1901 in France both for which donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. In addition, tax-deductible donations are accepted in Canada and Switzerland. JustWorld International has no political or religious affiliation.