For the past year and a half, Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo, has been teaching children his beloved sport of wrestling. He is working with Procter & Gamble (P&G) on the “Thank You, Mom” campaign teaching workshops on the fundamentals of his sport.
“My goal is to help promote and inspire the kids of tomorrow—of today,” Cejudo says. “They have to have role models and organizations like this to give them the tools they need. It is now my time to give back and inspire.”
Along with his mother, Nelly Rico, Cejudo is also travelling across the country to raise half a million dollars for the campaign. The money will fund youth sports workshops across the US. Cejudo not only fundraises, but donates supplies to his students.
“They have no shoes and shorts,” he says. “I was literally giving them the shirt off my back. I live to help these kids train.”
The “Thank You, Mom” Youth Sports Fund supports sports programs to inspire young athletes to become future Olympians.
“It exposes children to something they have never seen like clinics with baseballs and bats,” he explains. “It is a big difference between having something and not having it.”
He knows firsthand the power that a mother’s love can have on an athlete. Cejudo attributes his devotion to giving back and his Olympic victory to his mother.
“She was an immigrant who came here to live the classic American Dream,” he explains. “We struggled but she did so much for us. To me, to be part of the campaign makes it a lot easier for mothers who work several jobs to be successful.”
Cejudo sees himself in the people he helps. After his gold medal victory and loss in the London Olympic trials, Cejudo has retired from wrestling. He now devotes himself to the Youth Sports Fund.
“I feel blessed to be a part of it,” he says. “I want to share my story as the kid who came from the ghetto streets of south central LA.”
He says he will use his victory as a base to inspire people. His talents spread throughout his students to motivate them to do their very best. He is grateful to be able to focus on his service.
“I am done with wrestling and I want to make a difference with it,” he says. ”You bring people with you and you show them the world.”