I'm turning 35. Instead of gifts I am asking you and your friends to donate $35 to help support the Fugees.

Friends,

We all experience powerful life-changing moments, and this story tells one of mine. I started coaching refugee boys soccer five years ago. Our teams were called the Fugees and competed all over Georgia. At first, I expected to be involved in their lives as a coach; never did I think that these kids would become my extended family. One day during my first season, I was dropping a kid home when I looked over at him and noticed he was holding his stomach.

"What's wrong?" I asked. "I am hungry," he responded.

"Don't worry about it, you'll be home soon and you can get something to eat." I responded, thinking that he was trying to get me to pick up some fast food for him.

"No, there is no food at home," he reported.

I struggled to understand, "There must be something, bread, cheese..."

"No, Coach, it's that time of the month."

"Time of the month?" Later I found out that "time of the month" means the time the food stamps run out. That night I walked him to his apartment. Inside, it was complete darkness. I looked for food, but there was none. Instead, I found his mother huddled in the corner of the living room, rocking back and forth, shaking her head, and muttering, "I work hard every day, every day I work." After buying groceries and trying to draw a budget for his family (and failing miserably), I realized that I had barely scratched the surface. I felt so naive and helpless. Children living less than five miles away were going to bed hungry, because their parents weren't getting paid enough to make ends meet. This is just one of many experiences with my players that has completely changed the way I see the world. The past five years have been a wonderful yet terrifying journey led by the children I coach, who guide me and keep me accountable every day for the decisions I make. It is because of them that I have founded the Fugees Family, and it is for them that I ask you to join our family.

Coach Luma

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