Alumna Candace Cooper’s ‘Peace Passers’ goes global
Alumna Candace Cooper starts nonprofit group to sent soccer equipment to children around the world.
Recognizing that soccer is truly "the world's game," Queens alumna Candace Cooper decided to start a nonprofit organization to send gently used equipment to children around the world. Two years later, her Peace Passers group has increased the quality of life through promoting mutual respect for others and positive human relationships in the lives of the recipients through the love of sports.
Cooper attended Queens on a soccer scholarship and graduated in 2003. She still lives in Charlotte, working as a nurse while she continues running Peace Passers with a team that includes her brother Caleb, who also graduated from Queens and played soccer here.
Cooper started the organization after she realized the connection that the sport of soccer held in terms of promoting social change in the communities she visited during her time at Queens and beyond.
"The nature of the game inherently creates harmony and unity, serving as a way to spread joy and peace across cultural and economic boundaries," said Cooper.
Soccer provides a universal language for Cooper and the team of Peace Passer volunteers. They have seen firsthand that no matter where you are in the world, despite a language barrier, people understand the game of soccer, and it can bring joy and freedom to those who play in spite of their current living circumstances.
Since 2008, athletes at Queens along with women's soccer coach Katie Talbert continue to collect and send donations to Peace Passers, including balls, jerseys and shorts. Talbert has also put Cooper in contact with other coaches around the state who are donated gear now.
To date, the jerseys donated by Queens have been distributed to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, and an orphanage in Ethiopia. Another bag of gear is heading to Moshi, Tanzania, an area near Mt. Kilimanjaro.
For more information on Peace Passers, or if you are interested in joining in the cause, or making a donation, please visit www.PeacePassers.org.