Adom Appiah, a 15-year-old of Ghanaian descent, is a student at Spartanburg Day School in South Carolina. Things have never been the same for him after his teacher challenged him and his classmates to use 20% of their class time to do a project that makes the world better. His idea was to incorporate his love for sports with his family tradition of community service.
Because of his enthusiasm, he was able to attract huge community support. In March 2017, he held his first celebrity basketball game, which over 800 spectators attended. Each of the spectators paid a fee of $5. Former NFL players, local elected officials, and business leaders made up the teams of players and coaches. Among them was NBA rookie Zion Williamson.
During the game, Appiah and his supporters raised $7500 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Upstate, South Carolina. This led to the establishment of his non-profit Ball4Good. He then recruited his fellow student leaders from across the country and engaged them in selecting the organizations that should receive money and other donations as Ball4Good grew.
Through his mentor, he underwent training on the process of awarding grants. His mentor is Mary Thomas, an African-American Community leader who holds the position of the COO of the Spartanburg County Foundation. Her several years of experience as a philanthropist were instrumental in training young Appiah and his collaborators. Ms. Thomas also helped Appiah to create the Ball4Good Fund, which collects donations to support future games and charitable activities.
The Foundation itself had donated $1,000 in 2017. The following year Appiah received an award which came with $5,000 that he invested in the Ball4Good Fund as well.
As Adom was planning the next round of Ball4Good events over the summer, he wrote his first book. The book with the title ‘Kids Can Change the World: A middle schooler’s guide for turning passion into progress’. It is available in two versions; one for teens and the other one for younger kids. His other book goes by the title ‘Bounce Back from Failure’ gives lessons on how to handle failure. Appiah knows what it’s like not to win since he took part in the National Spelling Bee twice without emerging the winner. That did not bar him from successfully pursuing his passion.
The year 2019 witnessed tremendous growth in Appiah’s Ball4Good organization. The organization held ‘Kicks for Cancer, ’ which is a celebrity soccer match to raise funds for children living with cancer. They also collected winter hats, sporting goods, and toiletries to distribute to neighbors in need. Appiah and Ball4Good awarded a total of $16,000 grants to four organizations after the third annual charity basketball game.
Also, in 2019, Adom Appiah was one of the 25 youth who received the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. The prize includes $10,000 for his college education or Ball4Good activities. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards named him a state honoree.
Young Appiah credits God, his mentor, teacher, supporters, and his parents for his accomplishments.