San Antonio FC defender Joshua Yaro is keeping his mother’s memory alive by establishing The Josh Yaro Foundation.
One of the best ways to keep someone’s memory alive after they pass is by creating something positive in the world with them in mind. That’s exactly what San Antonio FC defender Joshua Yaro is doing as he establishes The Josh Yaro Foundation, inspired by his late mother, Esther. “I’ve always looked for a way to give back and started formalizing the idea in 2016. In 2017, I identified a solution that would help foster the next generation of leaders for years to come,” Josh explained.
2016 was the year that his mother passed away unexpectedly back in his native Ghana. Discussing if her passing impacted his foundation’s vision, he said, “Yes, that definitely did. She was an educator that saw education as a good tool to move the country forward and help individuals become the best versions of themselves. Her dedication and compassion for education encouraged me to start this foundation.”
What exactly is The Josh Yaro Foundation all about? “I would like to use my position in the sports area to promote awareness of the educational needs in Ghana. The foundation aims to provide support in three phases. Primarily to provide basic school supplies, secondly to provide uniforms to children who cannot afford them and therefore cannot attend school. And lastly, construction of school infrastructure in regions that are currently holding school outside due to no physical structure,” Yaro said.
A native of Kumasi, Ghana, Yaro explained that the school days in his native country are very different than the ones we experience in the United States. “The classrooms can be crowded and don’t always have utilities, but children still show up every day if they can. School isn’t always accessible or affordable in Ghana and some lack the basic necessities to learn,” he said.
“Students bring their own supplies, wear required uniforms, and even purchase their own textbooks sometimes. School can be very costly and can prevent some from attending.”
Both of his parents were principals at different schools, his dad is retired and still living in Ghana, which led Josh to bounce around as well. “Getting to experience different parts of the country and how different each school was is a memory I’ll forever cherish,” Josh reflected. His favorite subject was social studies because you get to learn about the country, its history, and the people.
“I also enjoyed how much teachers and students alike showed up every day with great optimism despite the challenges the educational system faced on a daily basis,” he added.
The 2nd overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, Yaro spent “breaks” or recess in school playing soccer along with track and netball. Now, as a professional soccer player, Yaro is ready to make a positive impact on the African nation that helped him become the man he is today. “I’m really excited for this new journey to be able to give back to a country that has already given me so much. I’m looking forward to how The Josh Yaro Foundation can help kids in Ghana realize and achieve their life goals,” he stated.
In 2018, Yaro graduated with two degrees: Anthropology with a concentration in Medical Anthropology and Government with a concentration in International Relations. Continuing to make his late mother proud, Josh will spread a message of positivity and the importance of education with The Josh Yaro Foundation.