15-year-old philanthropist wins national award

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – A 15-year-old Spartanburg Day School freshman student won a national award and a $10,000 dollar prize for his public service efforts.

Adom Appiah has written and published three books, made it to the Scripps National Spelling Bee twice and started a nonprofit organization that’s helped over a dozen Upstate charities.

When Appiah was just 12-years-old, he had an idea for a 7th grade project to invite local athletes and celebrities to play ball games and raise money for local charities.

“The money for that comes from tickets, concessions, donations,” Appiah explained. “I also asked my friend Zion Williamson to take part in that game.”

He called his organization Ball4Good, and with help from his mentor and COO of the Spartanburg County Foundation, Mary Thomas, his idea eventually became a 501 (c)(3) organization that has raised over $70,000 dollars for 16 local charities.

“Adom is using sports to really draw attention to community issues we really care about,” Thomas said. “He wanted to raise $5,000 for the Boys and Girls Club. He said, ‘Ms. Thomas, I just had my birthday and I told my friends instead of giving me money for my birthday to give me money for this cause,’” she remembered. “I was so taken with that.”

Over the past few years, he’s written and published three inspirational books for kids and teens after competing twice in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

“With all sorts of projects I do, I try to have kids involved every step of the way, so they can figure out how things work in the business world – in the philanthropic world,” Appiah said.

The US Library of Congress has accepted one of his books, and he’s received many awards for his accomplishments, including this year’s Gloria Barron prize for Young Heroes, which celebrates 25 young people annually. Adom was one of the top 15 winners in the nation this year to receive a $10,000 prize to support their service work and education.

“Adom represents the best of what the future holds for our community and for the world,” Thomas said.

However, if you ask Adom, he’s not in this for the praise, and there’s no telling what he’s up to next.

“I really don’t want it to be about me. I want it to be about the whole Ball4Good effort and the team behind it, because without a team we can’t get anything done,” he said.

Ball4Good is holding a soccer game this Sunday to benefit local children battling cancer.

The event is called Kicks4Cancer and is from 4 to 5 pm. For more information, click here.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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