Olympian Kim Vandenberg to Give Kids in Rwanda New Playing Field


Kim Vandeberg, PMG Sports Athlete, Speedo Athlete, 2008 Olympic Medalist

Kim Vandenberg, PMG Sports Athlete, Speedo Athlete, 2008 Olympic Medalist

Kids Play International (KPI), a non-profit organization founded by three-time Winter Olympian and National Champion in Freestyle skiing, Tracy Evans, is rallying the Olympic community to give kids in the rural Rwandan village of Gatagara a safe place to play. KPI provides year round sport-for-development programs to promote gender equity in communities impacted by genocide, and with the help of eleven female Olympians including 2014 hopefuls Emily Cook and Erin Hamlin, hopes to raise at least $10,000 for a much needed multi-use playing field. The “Field of Opportunity” campaign will run October 7 – December 8, 2013 through the online fundraising website, Crowdrise.

With the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi just months away, Cook (Freestyle Skiing) and Hamlin (Luge) are training for their respective events while supporting KPI as dedicated Athlete Ambassadors. They are joined by recent Olympic Silver Medalist April Ross (Beach Volleyball), Olympic Bronze Medalist Kim Vandenberg (Swimming), Olympic Silver Medalist Chellsie Memmel (Gymnastics), two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Angela Hucles(Soccer), Olympic Silver Medalist Jamie Komer (Water Polo), four-time Olympian Cameron Myler (Luge), Olympic Bronze Medalist Chanda Gunn (Hockey), two-time Olympian Bethany McMahon (Luge), and former professional soccer player Anne Poulin.

“All of these athletes understand the positive impact sport can have on a child’s life, especially by empowering young girls in countries where gender inequality is a cultural norm,” said Evans. “It starts with having a safe place to play and learn.”

All funds raised as part of the Crowdrise campaign will go to build a centralized multi-sport field for children who are part of Kids Play International’s flagship Let’s Play Fair program in Gatagara, Rwanda. Let’s Play Fair serves more than 100 boys and girls ages 7-18 with hundreds of hours of sports-based programming throughout the year as well as 1,000 children, youth and adults in the community, who participate in weekly Community Days.

Through sports activities and interactive discussion, Let’s Play Fair teaches boys and girls important life lessons and values embodied in the Olympic ideals, such as teamwork, sportsmanship, fair play, gender equity, respect and problem solving. KPI believes to promote true gender equity there needs to be education, respect and understanding between both boys and girls.


Founded in 2008 by three-time Olympian and National Champion in Freestyle Skiing, Tracy Evans, KPI is a non-profit organization providing year round sport for development programs that promote gender equity in communities impacted by genocide. Its mission is rooted in the core values of the Olympic movement: excellence, friendship and fair play, and the belief that sport can be a powerful catalyst for social change. KPI’s Lets Play Fair program teaches the fundamentals of teamwork, open communication and positive relationships in a safe environment to help boys and girls treat each other with a deeper level of kindness and respect. The organization takes a one-village-at-a-time approach, embedding itself in communities and creating sustainable programs that become a permanent part of village life. 

To learn more, go to www.kidsplayintl.org.

This release was provided to SwimSwam.

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About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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