Futty Danso, Clear Creek Middle School, 3.13.12
Portland Timbers

Defender Danso visits school that gives back to Africa

Giddy with excitement, sixteen local middle school students got the chance to meet Timbers defender Futty Danso on Tuesday, while also explaining to him how they are trying their best to make a difference halfway across the world.

The students, who are in the Service Learning Soccer class at Clear Creek Middle School, raised almost $200 in just over a month to send 12 soccer balls to Uganda. In hearing of the class' work trying to help underprivileged children in Africa, Danso was almost overwhelmed with emotion.

“I’ve been in that same situation, so what these kids are doing is a pretty good deal, changing life in Africa,” said Danso. “What they learn in this class, not just giving, but what they learn in this class is going to help them for the rest of their lives.”

Danso, who is originally from The Gambia, explained to the class that something as small as a soccer ball can change multiple children’s lives in Africa where some areas are devastated by war, famine, and disease.

“If a child who doesn’t have it will come to the other one who has the new ball, they’ll say ‘Hey, let’s forget about whatever happened, let’s get to kick the new ball.’ So you guys are doing a lot of good,” Danso told the class. “I cannot thank you guys enough for what you have been doing for the past month or so.”

The students raised the money by having a raffle, which included prizes such as Timbers tickets and a membership for the Eastside Timbers--one of three adidas Timbers Alliance youth teams. The six students who raised the most money got the chance to attend the Timbers’ home opener on Monday.

“It really helped them realize that they need to appreciate what they have,” said Cameron Plese, a community involvement specialist with the Metropolitan Family Service who also teaches the Service Learning Soccer course. “And it really inspired them, as well, to work with what they have, and to build upon their future.”