April 4, 2008 at 7:12 pm Leave a comment

Ethan Zohn, winner of Survivor:Africa and co-founder of Grassroot Soccer, was the Third Annual Libertad speaker at the University of Vermont on Friday, April 4th. During an inspirational talk drawing on his own life experiences since winning Survivor:Africa, Ethan asked the crowd at Rowell Hall, “what makes you the person you are today” and “is that person someone who is preoccupied with their own life, or do you want to use your power and knowledge of who you are to make a different for others”. He challenged students, staff, faculty, and community members in attendance to think about what they would want to be on the “highlight tape” of their life, discussing the value of good character and giving back.

Ethan has used his own “15 minutes of fame” and winnings from Survivor to co-found Grassroot Soccer, an NGO that uses the power of soccer and role models as a tool in the fight against AIDS in Africa. During the second half of his talk Ethan described the GRS model of empowering youth with the knowledge, skills, and peer support to live HIV free.

The Futbol para la Vida (FPV) program in the Dominican Republic is modeled after GRS and run by peer educators at Batey Libertad, Saman, and Batey Caraballo in dozens of communities throughout the island. FPV volunteers will be joining Ethan for a day during Dribble 2008, a Fall fundraiser for Grassroot Soccer featuring Ethan dribbling a soccer ball from Boston to Washington, DC. To support GRS, FPV, and AIDS awareness, please visit Ethan’s fundraising page at www.GrassrootSoccerUnited.org.

Ethan’s talk was the third in the Libertad Speakers Series at the University of Vermont. Michele Wucker, author of “Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola”, kicked off the annual event in 2005, followed by Julia Alvarez in 2006, award winning writer of “How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents” and “In the Time of the Butterflies”.

Thanks to Ethan for visiting UVM and for his ongoing support of Futbol para la Vida. A special thanks to Lena Forman (UVM ’08) for organizing Ethan’s visit and the annual “Lose the Shoes” barefoot soccer tournament and fundraiser the following day.


Entry filed under: Futbol para la Vida, University of Vermont.

March 2008 UVM service-learning trip 2nd Annual “Lose the Shoes” tournament and fundraiser for FPV

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