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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Adom Appiah

Adom Appiah

Spartanburg, South Carolina

Adom Appiah, 15, of Spartanburg, South Carolina, a freshman at Spartanburg Day School, has raised more than $50,000 for 16 nonprofit organizations in his community by organizing celebrity basketball games and donation drives through “Ball4Good,” a charity he started in 2016. Two years ago, Adom’s history teacher challenged his class to research a community need and then work independently to seek a solution. A varsity soccer player and JV basketball 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 a Boys and Girls Club. A second game followed the next year that benefited an advocacy center that combats child abuse, and raised additional funds for other community causes. The next game, he said, is set to benefit causes including support for children with autism and after-school robotics programming. 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, and held a Christmastime sports equipment drive for kids in his community. He has also written two books to inspire students to change the world and bounce back from failures; donations from book sales have supported several charitable causes.