FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – During the offseason, Bradley Pinion and his wife Kaeleigh attended a Pro Athletes Outreach meeting, which is a faith-based gathering for NFL athletes.
In the midst of the meeting, a representative from Compassion International, a child sponsorship and Christian humanitarian aid organization, came out to speak. The Pinion's immediately connected with their message.
"We were pretty interested in partnering with them from the beginning," Kaeleigh Pinion said. "We knew we wanted to make a pretty big impact."
The two connected with Ashleigh Alcorn, the relationship manager for pro athletes at Compassion International, to find out what specific areas within the organization they could get involved with to make the biggest impact. When the Pinions were presented with what they could do to help, internally they felt this was the perfect opportunity take on.
"They setup child development centers in these rural areas and we just kind of wanted to see where they were looking to get plugged in and where they didn't have the funds to do it yet," Kaeleigh Pinion said. "They sent us over some reports to look at, areas that needed serving, the population there, the amount of children there who were malnourished or needed support and Bradley and I just felt a pull."
That internal pull led them to choose the country Tanzania.
For the NFL's annual My Cause My Cleats initiative this year, Pinion will partner with Compassion International because of how life changing the organization has been for him and his wife.
"We fell in love with their mission and their purpose of spreading the gospel across the world," Pinion said.
Through Compassion International, Pinion and his wife have been able to help set up two child development centers in Tanzania, as well as a survival program that aids pregnant mothers with prenatal and postnatal care.
For the first time this upcoming March, they'll both travel to Tanzania to see the development centers in-person, visiting with the kids who are there being served there.
Giving back and paying it forward has always been a passion for Pinion and his wife. They've done community outreach locally, but they felt the need to take that next step and expand their passion internationally.
Since helping to get the development centers up and running, one center already has 147 students registered and enrolled. Through the sponsorship program established by Compassion International, a sponsor pays $38 a month. That money goes towards helping a child get enrolled into the program.
The program offers the children medical check-ups, healthcare, health and hygiene training, educational assistance, mentorship, access to special services, recreational activities, as well as faith-based teaching because Compassion International is a Christian organization.
"We've been telling all of our friends about this specific center in Tanzania and trying to get as many kids sponsored as possible because we just want to have the problem where the center is too full," Kaeleigh Pinion said, "and we need to help raise money to get another one on the ground."
More recently, Pinion and his wife had the opportunity to learn about the two children they've sponsored in Tanzania, their families and their hobbies, while also corresponding with them to help the child get to know them and explain what life is like in the U.S.
That drive and compassion to make a difference in someone else's life is what motivates Pinion and his wife to keep inspiring change.
"I feel like Bradley and I have always been the kind of people who just really want to give back and have had a heart for giving," Kaeleigh Pinion said.
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