The Grassroot Project, founded by former Grassroot Soccer intern Tyler Spencer, has recently been featured by many recognizable news sources and was awarded the SAAC Award of Excellence by the Division I Student Athlete Advisory Committee.

The Grassroot Project is a non-profit, student run HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention program, using the role model status of Division I college students and the popular platform of sports to empower at-risk youths with the knowledge and skills to lead healthy lives.ย  The organization is currently busy fundraising and planning for Team Up: a World Cup cultural exchange program for middle school children in Washington, DC and Soweto, South Africa, in June, 2010.

The Grassroot Project provides important HIV/AIDS prevention messages and life skills training to at-risk youth in the community.

The curriculum focuses on creating a fun, friendly and safe environment in which youth learn healthy life styles. The programs will allow the kids to share their feelings and beliefs, increase knowledge, and develop healthy attitudes and behaviors pertaining to HIV/AIDS through the use of interactive games and activities. By using the vehicle of sports to influence social change, student athletes will use the curriculum to combat the high rate of HIV/AIDS in D.C.

More than 100 student-athletes from 30 sports teams at Georgetown University, Howard University, and The George Washington University are running semester-long programs in 18 D.C. schools and community centers and more than 500 at-risk youth have participated in 8-week, games-based programs.

The program hopes to expand to the five other NCAA Division I institutions in the D.C. metropolitan area by spring of 2010. The Grassroot Program is part of Athletes United for Social Justice, a non-profit organization dedicated to using college athletes to empower youth through sports.

To read about the SAAC award, click here.

Click here for Tyler Spencer’s interview with USA Today.

Click here to read about the Mason- Georgetown soccer game benefiting Grassroot Soccer.

Click here to view a George Washington Research Study on The Grassroot Project.