Adom Appiah, a freshman at Spartanburg Day School, was recognized Thursday morning as one of two state honorees by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. The program is the United States' largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service.
Adom, 15, has raised more than $40,000 for 11 nonprofit organizations in the community by organizing celebrity basketball games and donation drives through “Ball4Good,” a charity he started in 2016. Two years ago, Adom’s history teacher at SDS, Kelsea Turner, challenged his class to research a community need and then work independently to seek a solution. A varsity soccer player, Adom is passionate about sports, so not surprisingly, he thought about an athletics-oriented service project. “I felt helping my community through sports was important because sports is a unifier,” he said.
Adom consulted with his teacher and family on his idea for a charity that would collect donations for community causes. He then picked a name, created a website and established a social media presence. He used donations received on his 13th birthday as seed money for his first celebrity basketball game in 2017, which drew 800 spectators and benefited Boys and Girls Clubs. A second game followed the next year. Adom also worked with school sports teams to collect toiletries, clothing accessories, toys and gift cards for the homeless and winter hats for cancer patients. Cash donations from Adom’s events have bought uniforms for Boy Scouts who couldn’t afford to buy their own; supported summer camps for Girl Scouts and a Boys and Girls Club; helped families struggling with cancer bills; and funded an advocacy center that combats child abuse. In addition, Adom has written two books to inspire students to change the world, and donates 50 percent of his book sales to nonprofit organizations.
In May, Adom will join other state honorees in Washington, D.C., for four days of national recognition events. Honorees will share their experiences and ideas with one another, and 10 will be named America's top youth volunteers of the year.