The Grassroot Project, a not-for-profit organization based in D.C., was started by its president, Tyler Spencer, in 2009 in response to the high rate of HIV/AIDS in the city.
His idea is to use sports to educate at-risk youth in the community about HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. The curriculum focuses on creating a fun, friendly and safe environment in which youth learn healthy lifestyles. The programs allow 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 use the curriculum to combat the high rate of HIV/AIDS in D.C.
The organization is designed and managed by NCAA Division I varsity from Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University and University of Maryland. They work at more than 40 sites across the city, through partnerships with public and charter schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, MetroTeenAIDS, Latin American Youth Center (LAYC), and DC SCORES.
Long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad held a party for her new book, “Find a Way” to raise funds for the organization. Nyad gained national attention in 1975 when at 26 she swam around Manhattan Island. A world champion distance swimmer she gave up that career at age 30 believing her dream to swim from Cuba to Key West was over. Nyad, an inspirational speaker, talked about her life and how after nearly 30 years of retirement from swimming at age 60 she resurrected that dream. She succeeded in 2013 at the age of 64 on her fifth attempt.
“Find a Way” is available on Amazon; click Grassroot Project to learn more about the organization.