Athletes for Hope would not exist without the drive, passion and dedication by athletes all over the world to make the world a better place. In our Member Athlete Spotlight series, it is our hope that the public will get to know our athletes, learn about the philanthropy and advocacy work they’re doing and understand what motivates them to use their platform for good.
What is your name, sport, team?
Pauls Pujats, Olympic Pole Vaulter, team Latvia, but I have also represented University of Memphis Tigers.
What inspired you to give back to your community/commit time to service?
While living in this world I’ve experienced many life situations that I felt could have been better, starting with how other people have treated one another, including myself. I felt from an early age that being kind to others came very naturally for me, but that character was not felt by everyone. I’m sure those who are reading this, have experienced in one way or another unfair treatment, cruelty, judgment, and other forms of inflicted physical or mental pain. That was not the world I wanted to live in, so I set out my mind to change it, but the change had to start from within. I had to deal with inner battles that I had gone through, years of inflicted poison from others needing to be extracted from my mind, before I could help anyone else. This involved meditation, self-reflection, discipline, patience, research and finding the right people/ mentors in my life to understand the great question of finding my purpose. To sum up everything in one sentence, my life experience has led me to help others.
What cause(s) are you passionate about? Why?
Well, my original idea was that I wanted to live in beautiful surroundings, in a healthy environment, and see nature heal and restore to its highest potential. None of this is possible with unconscious decision making of people, therefore, the change needs to happen in the minds of each and every one of us. This is why my passion now is to work with like minded people, with young minds, with open minds. I believe this is the way we can change the world. It takes only one person to inspire to start the change, but it takes the community to make it happen and to make it last.
What has been your favorite moment when giving back to your community?
First, spreading and sharing joy, which leads to the second – love and passion for what you do, and the third is sharing valuable information that can help others to live their best life.
How has being an athlete helped you give back to your community?
People tend to look up to individuals that have done something extraordinary, something that not everyone is able or capable to do. By being an athlete I’ve trained myself to become the strongest, fastest, most agile self, and it takes years to perfect it or to just be your best self in the field. When being an athlete, the movement is like a form of art. It involves a variety of emotions – compassion, excitement, hope – that is why I as an athlete have developed a character and a willpower that others pick up when you enter the room. You don’t become the master in your craft in one day. You build it through hours of devotion and focus, through resilience and teamwork. Being an athlete builds you strong and ready both physically and mentally for whatever comes in your way, adaptability to conditions and situations. This experience allows me to share, inspire and teach others the same.
What does the future of your charitable involvement look like? What are your long-term goals?
My vision is to help more people and to have more outlets to do that – work with community, people, organizations and companies with similar values and vision. With what kind of people you surround yourself with will tell you how your future is going to look like. This is why it’s so important to surround yourself with leaders who care, no matter what’s their industry. Be there for the change and for others, only then the world will be a place where everywhere you go you will feel like home.
I have already started The Pujats organization which focuses on health and wellness, now I just need to continue to do the work, connect with the right people, keep growing and spreading joy and health to the rest of the world. If what you read resonates with you, I ask you to reach out, connect or just simply subscribe to my website to be the change in the world www.pujats.org