Sporting KC Humanitarian of the Year
Kei Kamara has been a leading contributor in Sporting Kansas City's humanitarian initiatives in 2011, earning the team's Humanitarian of the Year award as voted on by media, coaches and fellow players. The recognition comes as a direct result of Kei's ongoing commitment to serve both the local Kansas City community and his native Sierra Leone throughout the year.
Kei, a former MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Month recipient (September 2010), has volunteered his time and skills to several activities through the club's Sporting 22 program, launched in 2011 to give grant funds and scholarship money to 22 local high school students who applied with soccer-related projects. Kei consistently showed his support of these students' enterprises by not only making guest appearances at the various clinics, camps, leagues and other endeavors, but also by reaching out to the program coordinator to find other unique ways of encouraging students to continue their participation in and promotion of the sport.
Moreover, Kei takes great pride in being an ambassador for Sporting Kansas City's impact in the local community by using his outgoing personality and popularity on Twitter to engage fans and organize unprecedented community events. In January, Kei welcomed all KC area residents to join him — and several of his teammates -- for his first snowball fight in downtown Kansas City. The event garnered a large turnout and Kei treated those in attendance to complimentary Chipotle afterward as a sign of his appreciation.
Similarly, a local elementary school teacher and Sporting Kansas City Season Ticket Member reached out to Kei in April for his help with a history day project with ties to Africa. Kei willingly committed to the cause and was able to connect with the students to share his experience on growing up there and traveling throughout the continent.
In addition to his active involvement in the Kansas City community, Kei is heavily involved with efforts to support his native Sierra Leone. In March, Kei teamed up with Chivas USA's Michael Lahoud, also a Sierra Leone native, to host an event for supporters of Schools for Salone and raise money for the organization that assists schools and schoolchildren in the country.
In May, the United Brothers and Sisters of Sierra Leone recognized Kei at their inaugural dinner and awards event in California, bestowing him with the Goodwill Award, which is annually given to individuals for charitable acts and humanitarian efforts that help Sierra Leoneans. Kei expressed his appreciation for the award and has pledged to work with the organization on humanitarian opportunities moving forward.
Kei also continued his self-started scholarship program for students in his hometown of Kenema, Sierra Leone this year. The program gives scholarship money, donated entirely by Kei personally, to ten youths in his birth city. In September, five recipients were chosen from Saint Charles Lwanga Primary School based on their scores in the National Primary School Examination.
As a key member of the Sierra Leone National Team, he makes frequent trips to Sierra Leone and has acted as an ambassador for the country by donating an enormous amount of personal soccer equipment for local soccer organizations in need and hosting charity soccer matches when in Sierra Leone to raise awareness for the sport at a local level.