Athletes for Hope

Meet Our New Teammates: Claudia, Maddie, Robin and Chelsea

Athletes for Hope offers internships and contracting opportunities to current and former students interested in the field of sports philanthropy and nonprofit management. This semester we are lucky to have Claudia Saunders and Maddie Kopp, who are both former college athletes and are now professional athletes, Robin Kuik, a student in the dual degree master’s program for Social Work and Public Health at the University of Texas and Chelsea Vuong, a Harvard undergrad student. We were so impressed with their backgrounds that we asked the new team members to share a little about themselves and why they chose to work at our organization.

Clauda Saunders

Claudia Saunders
Stanford University graduate 2016
International Relations and Spanish

Are you an athlete? If so, what’s your sport?
I ran track and Cross Country in college. I now run professionally for Under Armour and the District Track Club.

What most interested you about interning at AFH?
What most drew me to AFH was the intersection of athletics and social development. I have always been passionate about the two and seeing all the ways AFH uses sports to positively impact children and other groups made we want to be a part of this organization.

What do you think is the most important thing people should know about AFH’s mission?
Athletes who may want to be a part of AFH don’t need to be huge celebrities to have an impact. Any professional or Olympic level athlete that has interest in working with charities will be able to contribute to the AFH mission.

Maddie Kopp

Maddie Kopp
Duke University graduate 2017
Global Culture Studies Major in Literature and a Certificate in Policy Journalism and Media Studies

Were you a student-athlete? What’s your sport?
I was a track & field athlete at Duke University specifically in all of the sprints up to the 800m, and I now compete professionally for District Track Club based in Washington, DC. I now primarily run 400m/800m.

What drew you to AFH?
The primary reason for my getting involved with Athletes for Hope was to encourage myself to get more involved and to volunteer whenever I can. So far, I have participated in several Power Up programs with Athletes For Hope. I hope to continue working with this charity and others, as one cause that I think is really important is getting kids active.

My first job after college was with a Boys & Girls Club, and I immediately realized working in non profits is something I really want to do with my life. Athletes For Hope allows me to combine both of the worlds that I love, athletics and non profits. As a professional athlete, I was looking for an organization to help me stay involved with philanthropy, and Athletes For Hope was the perfect match. I was very interested in learning more about professional opportunities with a charitable organization that intersects with the world of sports. I also enjoy that it allows me to engage with meaningful and important acts of philanthropy.

What do you think is the most important thing people should know about AFH’s mission?
I think one of the most important things about AFH is that it calls athletes to be more than just someone who participates in their sport. This organization motivates and inspires those who may not know the impact that they could have to act in meaningful ways. I know that a lot of us, myself included, must focus most of our time on our sport (and studies when in school), which makes it hard to see beyond those goals. Personally, I wanted to find ways to have an impact outside of my races. I think people should know that AFH helps athletes find where they are passionate and how they can make the biggest difference.

Robin Kuik

Robin Kuik
University of Texas at Austin
Dual Degree Masters Program for Social Work and Public Health

Do you volunteer regularly?
I do! I’m a weekly volunteer with Aids Services of Austin that promotes health and awareness while also providing support groups and services. I volunteer because I think its very important to give back to your community and help those around you. Also, in our day and age, there’s a lot of negativity going around about our political and social climate and volunteering helps me feel like I’m making a (small) difference to combat that negativity.

What most interested you about interning at AFH?
Volunteerism and helping people find their philanthropic passions are two things that are very important to me, and I love working with an organization that has those two things front and center. I think that it’s important that everyone find something that they love and that drives them to do good, and then to do that thing on a consistent basis! Also, athletes have a such a strong voice in their communities and in our culture, and I think that voice can do a lot of good.

What do you think is the most important thing people should know about AFH’s mission?
I love how much AFH works with other organizations to be able to connect athletes with causes that they are passionate about. Cooperative work in between non-profits and service centered organizations is essential to of our success. Staff at AFH have done great work with their partnering organizations that ends up benefiting everyone involved!

Chelsea Vuong

Chelsea Vuong
Harvard University
Majoring in Economics and minoring in Computer Science.

What will you be doing at AFH?
This spring, I will be interning as a strategy consultant at Athletes for Hope. I will be working closely with Jason Belinkie to update Athlete for Hope’s strategic plan. This plan will be used to guide the organization’s vision for the future, as well as provide key milestones for the organization.

What drew you to the organization?
I really love the mission of the organization. Athletes truly have the ability to make a solid impact in their communities. Athletes are not only role models, but also beacons of hope. Athletes of Hope does an amazing job fitting the puzzle pieces together between athletes and community involvement through taking the time to understand each athlete individually. This sense of individuality enables athletes to find causes near and dear to their hearts, which allows them to maximize their impact. This organization is making great strides to improve the lives of others.