This is a social project and fundraiser currently being organized by Kenny Savercool, one of the instructors at my BJJ gym, Fifty50 BJJ, home of Ryan Hall.
Kenny is a brownbelt and usually teaches there on Thursday evenings. I really enjoy his instruction and coaching, so when he stopped showing up for a while I started to wonder what happened to him.
It turns out, he went to Brazil for some dedicated BJJ training in the motherland of the sport. When he finally returned he was excited to tell us all about a social project he was involved with to provide Jiu Jitsu equipment and instruction for underprivileged kids in the Favela. As Kenny says on his website VaiCantagalo.com:
Words cannot express what a life or death difference this program makes, in terms of giving children a positive outlet, building them a future and most importantly, keeping them off the streets and away from the drug trade and other violent crimes.
The moment I heard about this program, I knew I wanted to help.
What Kenny needs are:
lightly used Jiu Jitsu and No-Gi equipment. Please consider donating anything that may have fallen out of favor, you’ve outgrown (or shrank out of) or no longer have a use for. Anything is appreciated. I can assure you personally all donations will go to great use and be appreciated more than you know. The items that are most in need are small-sized kimonos (children’s sizes, women’s sizes, A0, A1 and A2) as well as smaller-sized rash guards and shorts.
And of course any financial contribution that can be made would be helpful.
Another way to contribute is to buy one of these T-shirts.
Since one of the most expensive parts of this project is the actual shipping of the equipment, and the last time Kenny did something like this he had to personally pay for some of the shipping out of his own pocket, I donated $500 to Vai Cantagalo to cover his shipping expenses.
I make a nominal amount from BJJCaveman.com through ads and affiliate links and I can’t think of a better use for it than giving back to these kids who desperately want to train BJJ but just don’t have the resources.
Here is a video showing the school and students that this project will be supporting:
Here is a link to Kenny’s Blog entry about his experience in the Favelas.
Kenny recently appeared on the Open Mat Radio Podcast to discuss his training with Ryan Hall, tips on competing and living in Brazil, and his background with this project.
If things keep going well he plans to form an official non-profit, but at this point it’s just him, trying to do whatever he can to scrounge up enough equipment to send to those kids. I know him personally and can vouch for his integrity and character. He plans to take pictures and videos of the kids with the gear afterwards.
If you want to learn more about this project and how you can contribute, head on over to VaiCantagalo.com