Marie Rudolph and student-athletes Ebony McKeever and Erin Boudreau wrote and delivered a testimony discussing the impact that The Grassroot Project has had in DC and on our lives for the City Council Performance Oversight Hearing. We testified in front of Chairman Vincent C. Gray and members of the Committee on Health on Friday, February 17, 2017.
Erin “Boody” Boudreau (GWU Soccer ’17): Writing my testimony for the Performance Oversight Hearing for Health made me reflect on my four-year involvement with The Grassroot Project. Four years of amazing experiences were difficult to fit into a three-minute testimony. I discussed the impact we have as role models and as an organization on DC youth, and how you can see the excitement middle school students have to learn about sexual health in such a unique way. Part of my testimony explained that TGP brings student-athletes into the discussion about HIV/AIDS and STIs in Washington, DC. This is to show that HIV/AIDS and STIs can and do affect everyone and everyone has a role in reducing the incidence. It was also imperative I mention the effect TGP has on student-athletes. Personally, TGP changed the course of my education and introduced me to the world of sport for development. Many of my coolest college experiences revolve around TGP: being selected to attend Clinton Global Initiative University, traveling to South Africa, and meeting athletes at GW and other schools that I wouldn’t know otherwise. During my testimony, I made it a point to stress that my experiences aren’t unique. Tons of other athletes have similar success stories and personal accomplishments that would not have been possible without The Grassroot Project.
Ebony “Elbow” McKeever (GU Track ’17): Initially, I did not know what to expect in writing my testimony to the committee. On the other hand, I did know that I wanted to share my experience with TGP to whoever would listen. TGP granted me the first opportunity to work with middle school students in a creative way. I was initially confused how TGP was able to deliver a curriculum on HIV/AIDS and healthy relationships with tennis balls and soccer balls, but I quickly realized how effective this method is. My involvement with TGP led to my desire to create engaging curriculums like this to teach traditional subjects in middle schools. I was a little nervous before delivering my testimony, but Chairman Gray was very receptive of our stories. I smiled with excitement when he took interest in what sport I played and after he made a celebratory gesture when Erin stated that she hailed from George Washington University. We will definitely continue to support TGP in any capacity after we graduate in May 2017. It was important to us to participate in the hearing in order to help ensure that The Grassroot Project is successful in the future and able to grow. Thank you!