France fought back from fifth place to win the Team Show Jumping Competition, earning their first Gold in the event since 1976 and a second equestrian title at Rio. Kevin Staut, one of France’s most prominent riders, was a key performer with two perfect rounds. As the globe watches and celebrates the hard work, dedication, and accomplishment of Kevin Staut, what they must also know is the rider has a heart of gold.
An equestrian’s focus can become isolated on their horses and competitions when at the highest level of the sport, but world-class rider Kevin Staut has never allowed his focus to falter from the good he can provide in the community as an equestrian icon. Since 2007, the French rider has been a long-term Rider Ambassador for JustWorld International, a nonproft organization that raises funds through the international equestrian community to help provide education, nutrition, health and hygiene and cultural development training programs to more than 6,500 underprivileged children in impoverished communities around the world.
In Cambodia, the support of JustWorld Ambassadors is what helps allow the non-profit to provide funds for the People Improvement Organization (PIO), where poverty-stricken children are provided with certified teachers, educational materials, lunches, health care and rice allotments for their families. Across the globe in Guatemala, Ambassadors have helped fuel JustWorld’s support of Los Patojos, at which JustWorld finances an education program, medical clinic and community kitchen as well as leadership and cultural development activities. In neighboring Honduras, Ambassador awareness and fundraising contribute to Asociación Compartir to provide a mobile library for the children of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
As a JustWorld Ambassador, Kevin Staut is one of more than 500 dedicated equestrians from more than 42 countries making a difference for children around the world every time they climb into the saddle as Ambassadors for JustWorld International. What these riders of all levels, disciplines, nationalities and backgrounds share is a commitment to the equestrian sport and to doing their part to help create a more just world for children everywhere. Each Ambassador pledges a percentage of their show ring winnings or makes an annual donation to JustWorld, in addition to acting as a representative for the non-profit at horse shows and events. Equally important to the JustWorld Ambassador program is the other half of the list – the portion composed of junior and amateur riders who act as a face of the non-profit in their own show circuits, barns and communities around the world.
For riders like Staut, his involvement as an Ambassador is ever-growing. Kevin Staut has taken time out of his own riding and showing to travel to JustWorld International projects and volunteer his time. Staut shared, “JustWorld counts on the support of riders to help raise awareness within the equestrian world to provide a better life for children in developing countries. As an ambassador for JustWorld International, I felt ready to do more than just give a percentage of my prize-money.” Staut made his first visit to the JustWorld project in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in October 2013 and since then he has also traveled two times to JustWorld’s Guatemalan project, Los Patojos. At Los Patojos, Kevin held a clinic at the beautiful El Cortijo riding school, owned by Olympic rider and JustWorld Ambassador Juan Andres Rodriguez and his family. All of the proceeds from the clinic and following luncheon went directly towards Los Patojos to support the doctor and medical supplies for their medical clinic.
The list of ways that Ambassadors show their support is endless, and the enthusiasm and efforts that they put forth is what makes JustWorld’s work possible. The nonprofit is thankful for riders like Kevin Staut who continually give back, riding with their “gold” hearts on their sleeve.
To find out more about JustWorld and how to get involved, please visit: www.JustWorldInternational.org.
Photo by Sportfot