Internship program in South Africa

Hello everyone! My name is Terri Turner and I am currently a sophomore at Columbia University in the city of New York. My major is English with a concentration in Ethnic Studies upon which I will use to achieve my law degree.  As some people may know, I have run track since I was 7 years old. Track and field has become an integral part of my identity and has fostered many opportunities for me. Recently, I was accepted into an internship program by Student-Athletes Abroad (SAA) that is in Cape Town, South Africa.

SAA allows me to partner with Great Commission United (GCU), to target my efforts on youth reform. GCU was founded by a man named Mario Van Niekerk who is a reformed ex-gang member. He saw the change needed within his community and vowed to help children avoid the route he took. Gangs are a major problem in South Africa and Niekerk works tirelessly to find alternate activities such as soccer teams for children to join. This particularly inspired me because of the community I was raised in.

I am from the city of Philadelphia where I have witnessed the potential of many children become stifled due to the intense disconnect regarding education and sports-related talent. These two entities, sports and education, are often seen as immutable, independent forces yet they are not. Through mentorship and careful guidance, sports and education can offer children a plethora of opportunities and divergent pathways for success. Within SAA and GCU, I will continue to expand my knowledge on the various approaches toward assisting the youth. To add on, I will mentor children that are susceptible to gang violence by implementing sports programs to redirect aggression in a positive manner. Moreover, I will be involved in tutoring programs that forge a support system for students by allowing them to receive help and direction within their academic life. The work I will be doing in Cape Town with SAA and GCU is very impactful to the community. It is inciting a global change by protecting and buttressing the futures of children that are often deprived of opportunities due to their socioeconomic status.

For more information on the logistics of SAA you can use the following link: 

I am excited to be presented the opportunity to connect with children around the world while also being a part of the development of the youth. I believe it is essential to cultivate and nurture the youth through sports and education as they are the key to change. I am blessed to have my own life be a manifestation of the work that has been accomplished by SAA and GCU. I want to become an international advocate for the fight for education as well as sports. Children around the world should be afforded the opportunity to use both entities and become successful. The work that I will be engaged in is quite revolutionary, yet it can not occur without your help.

I am a full-time Ivy League student-athlete that comes from a low-income background. In addition to the hours that I spend at practice and completing rigorous coursework, I also work a meager amount of hours.  The lack of time I have due to my demanding schedule has prevented me from working enough hours to fund this trip by myself. I need your help to allow me to impact the world. I do not want my aspirations and opportunities to be thwarted due to my lack of financial resources.

With your help, whether that is through donating or simply sharing my post, I will be able to accomplish everything that seemed like a dream this summer in Cape Town.  Thank you again

Best wishes,

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Terri Turner 
Philadelphia, PA
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