PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Sherman Washington runs the Athletic Club of Fairhill, a youth soccer academy based in North Philadelphia. Its mission is to provide youth fitness and development for low-income children.
“We actually use soccer as a vessel to follow them into the importance of community service, what it means to serve the community, getting them into better academic institutions,” he said.
Soccer is the focus, but it’s much more than an athletics program.
“AC Fairhill is the actual way that they can express themselves,” Washington explained, “whether it’s on the field or on the pitch, or whether it’s actually having a conversation on a ride to a game or ride to a practice.”
It’s another way of lending support where it’s needed.
“You never know who’s there to support you. I think a big message that we always speak to the kids about is opportunity.”
As the kids grow and develop, Washington recognizes that some may be exposed to or witness trauma. Through the organization, he offers encouragement as well as tools and tips for success.
“I’m someone that’s here to serve my community. I honestly felt an obligation. I came from a great family, but I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say that I had ancillary support,” he added.
“You have to be prepared. You have to seize every opportunity. Oftentimes, it’s a choice which direction you choose to go.”
During Black History Month, KYW Newsradio’s GameChangers honors 10 individuals or organizations that have made a significant, positive impact in communities of color in the greater Philadelphia region. KYW community affairs reporter Racquel Williams will host an evening honoring this year’s awardees on Feb. 24. View a full list of 2022 honorees below.