Last November he was given a Teen Nick HALO Award from the Nickelodeon network. Now, it seems rising sophomore Kyle Weiss is one of the world's 25 Most Powerful and Influential Young People.
On Friday, May 4, Youth Service America (YSA) named Weiss to its list of the world's 25 most powerful and influential people under the age of 25, for his role in co-founding FUNDaFIELD with his brother at the age of 13, to build soccer fields for children in Africa. (Read more.)
Youth Service America is the organization behind Global Youth Service Day, and is devoted to engaging children and youth (ages 5-25) to volunteer and become academic achievers and leaders in their communities. On April 20, YSA teamed with The Huffington Post to start unveiling, one name at a time, the individuals who had made their list. With each passing day, through May 14, a new name is released. Last Friday, it was Weiss' turn.
The global network of supporters that Weiss has nurtured now includes leaders of countries, athletes, celebrities, and global policy leaders, and has brought FUNDaFIELD's efforts to Uganda, Haiti, Congo, and Swaziland. Weiss and his nonprofit's volunteers have so far raised more than $169,000 for fields, equipment, and tournaments.
The YSA honor comes as Weiss, coincidentally, prepares for a return trip next week to Uganda, where he and freshmen classmates Zane Ravenholt, Tim Storer and Conner Schlegel will host four soccer tournaments on behalf of FUNDaFIELD. Their trip is sponsored by the Kravis Leadership Institute and the Center for Human Rights Leadership.
"It is such an honor to be included on this list with so many incredible people," Weiss said. "Credit goes to YSA for recognizing young people and the work they are doing all over the world. What we do (at FUNDaFIELD) is a team effort though, so this is an honor for all of usnot just me."
YSA President and CEO Steven A. Culbertson said its list of the 25 Most Powerful and Influential Young People in the World recognizes young movers and shakers who are already following their passions, impacting the world, and inspiring others to help solve "some of the most pressing global issues of our day.
"We hold them up as examples of what young people are capable of," Culbertson said. "The YSA List is a testament not only to these 25 honorees, but to the millions of kids who, every day, are making a difference in their communities through service."
"Kyle was an enthusiastic participant in my Freshman Writing Seminar on The Power of Laughter," said Audrey Bilger, faculty director of the Center for Writing & Public Discourse, and professor of literature. "He's a talented writer and a highly original thinker. I'm pleased to see him receive this recognition."
Adds P. Edward Haley, the W.M. Keck Foundation Professor of International Strategic Studies and director of the College's Center for Human Rights Leadership: "Kyle has found a way through soccer and FUNDaFIELD to help others in a joyous way. It's a boon to everyone who is touched by the nifty events he and his friends arrange: players, their parents, community and contributors."
In addition to having their stories featured on the Huffington Post, the 25 honorees will also receive a $1,000 award to support their causes, and be included in opportunities to collaborate with like-minded members of YSA's Global Youth Service Network.
(Read Weiss' blog entry for The Huffington Post: Talking About Soccer With the King of Swaziland).
You can also watch the beginning of the 2011 Teen Nick HALO Awards ceremony, which features Weiss receiving his award from supermodel Heidi Klum within the first few minutes.
Meanwhile, the CMCer is constantly looking for opportunities to grow FUNDaFIELD's philanthropic wing span. This summer, through a paid internship from the Kravis Leadership Institute, he will organize a celebrity soccer game to raise awareness and funds for FUNDaFIELD. The event, he says, will be called Chance to Play 2012.
"Kyle, as a Kravis Leadership Institute employee and as a guest speaker for the Leading Social Entrepreneurial Ventures class I teach, is an inspiration to us all," say Sarah Smith Orr, executive director of the Kravis Leadership Institute. "He is a self-effacing young man whose passion for and dedication to his social enterprise work to enrich the lives of less fortunate youth in the developing world is extraordinary.
"We are very grateful we can contribute in a very small way to his work," Smith Orr said. "While this recognition is well-deserved, Kyle will respond with modesty. Our world needs many more young leaders like Kyle Weiss."