Published On: Thu, Jul 12th, 2012

From the Field to a Foundation

By: Guadalupe Monarrez

It is not everyday that life gives you the platform to do good in the world. Nevertheless, destiny always finds a way of throwing us into humbling situations that leave impressions. Lasting impressions.

On a Thursday afternoon, I had the privilege of meeting a 22 year old that has accomplished more in his lifetime than most his age. Jozy Altidore is best known for scoring goals for AZ Alkmaar and the United States Men’s National Team. But, for the Boca Raton native, it is the opportunities that he has been given outside of the soccer field that have made all the difference in someone else’s life.

After the 2010 earthquake that left Haiti devastated, the young Jozy Altidore knew that he had to do something more for his family’s native country.

With the events that happened in Haiti is when I thought, I have to do something,” Altidore said, “I think it is important that I try to give back and help out a country that has given a lot to me and my parents.”

Consequently, in 2011, Altidore founded the nonprofit charitable organization known as the Jozy Altidore Foundation. Alongside his sister Lindsey Altidore and publicist Jeremy D. Pond, the foundation has worked relentlessly to preserve its mission of helping children in need.

I think kids are one of my main focuses because my family, who were brought up in Haiti, always tell me stories about their upbringing and how hard it was for them,” Altidore said, “I figured I would try to give kids the opportunities that I didn’t have and my parents didn’t have.”

Over the past year, the foundation has worked collaboratively with numerous organizations.

In the summer of 2011, the foundation hosted a 2 week soccer camp at St. Andrew’s School in Boca Raton. With proceeds benefiting the foundation, children were invited to train with Altidore.

How many kids are in my shoes when I was at that age,” Altidore said, “I said lets help these kids get exposure, and teach them the game.”

One of the foundation’s first projects, the camp proved to be highly successful and gave Altidore optimism for the future. “I would like it to be a yearly thing at some point,” Altidore said, “we started it and wanted to see where it went, and it went very well.”

Recently, Altidore was given the opportunity to help Kashius Mostransky and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In a World Cup qualifier on June 8th, Altidore wore a bracelet that read, “Let’s Kick It For Kashius.”

Mostransky, who suffers from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, has undergone several chemotherapy treatments since his diagnosis. But, with the help of family and friends, “Let’s Kick It For Kashius” has become a voice to raise awareness for all who suffer from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. A truly selfless family, the Mostranskys asked for all donations from the exposure to be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation in the names of Kashius Mostransky and the Jozy Altidore Foundation.

When asked how it made him feel to commemorate Mostransky by wearing the bracelet, Altidore quickly responded, “unbelievable.”

As athletes, in the position we are in, it is easy to forget what is around you in terms of people in that situation,” Altidore said, “I honestly felt like this was a way I could help.”

Nearly two weeks following the qualifier, Altidore made a guest appearance at the Football Factory at Legends and Jack Dempsey’s, which are both located in New York City. Altidore was on site to raise money for the foundation, while signing autographs and taking photos with fans.

I always love meeting the fans,” Altidore said, “without the fans the athletes would struggle, they are the ones that give us motivation.”

With the appearances, the foundation hoped to raise funds that would benefit the ongoing Haiti relief effort and the local community.

We are trying to give back to Haiti, the rebuilding of the country, and to some of the orphanages there,” foundation President Lindsey Altidore said, “and definitely, trying to give back to our community here in Boca.”

In a recent partnership with Generosity Water, the foundation hopes to raise $6,000 to help build a well in Haiti. “Being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, there is not a lot of clean water and resources for the people,” Lindsey Altidore said.

The well will provide clean water for more than 400 people. To properly maintain the well, Generosity Water will help educate villagers.

They have classes that teach the villagers proper sanitation and hygiene,” Jeremy D. Pond said, “they want them to be able to use it properly.”

Currently, the foundation is seeking new ways to become involved with different projects and organizations. But, lucky for me, Jozy Altidore shared one of his dreams for the future.

Hopefully everything goes well and I make the World Cup team. I want to put up projection screens in Haiti, so that all the World Cup games can be broadcasted throughout the villages,” Altidore said, “for that month and a half, people can forget about their worries and just enjoy the game.”

It is hard to imagine standing on the platform that life has given Jozy Altidore. But more importantly, it is a blessing to be witness to the difference it is making.

If you would like to make a donation, you can send a check or money order made out to “The Jozy Altidore Foundation” to 21053 Shady Vista Lane Boca Raton, FL 33428.

Donations for the well being built in Haiti can be made online at https://mygenerositywater.dntly.com/JozyAltidore

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