Southeast Missouri State University alumnus and former football player Kweku Arkorful has transferred his energies on the gridiron to serving the needs of orphans overseas.
Arkorful recently returned from Manzini, Swaziland, where he was part of a group from LaCroix Church in Cape Girardeau that shared their faith and helped serve the village’s material needs.
“I’m driven by always doing more,” said Arkorful, a native of Ghana Africa, who grew up in the Chicago area. “How can I help out and how can I be a part of a bigger picture than myself?”
The team of nine people worked with Well of Hope CarePoint. They played soccer and interacted with children while also helping to paint a multi-purpose building and plant trees and gardens for the village.
This was Arkorful’s second trip to Manzini, following a visit there in 2015. He said the multi-purpose building was not there then, but now it truly looks amazing.
The group worked with the village from July 11-15. They also hosted Bible studies with mothers involved with CarePoint.
“Families in Swaziland are very grateful for people to come over and bless them with hope, prayer and blessings,” he said.
Arkorful said he dreams of building orphanages and recreation centers in developing nations. He would like to either be part of building these orphanages or making enough money to support other orphanages overseas.
“I originally went to Swaziland thinking I would teach the kids about Jesus, but they taught me so much more,” he said. “They were so grateful for having food, water and life, while we are worried about not having enough.”
He said he enjoyed the beauty of Swaziland’s mountains. He relishes the joy and laughter he witnessed among the children who, he says, love life and smile, despite their lack of clean water or plentiful food. The region, he said, is impacted by AIDS and HIV, and the average age expectancy is just 51.
He said the trip changed his perspective, realizing Americans are worried by so much when, in reality, most are blessed with access to food and transportation.
Arkorful has been very involved in the Cape Girardeau community after graduating from Southeast. He enjoys working with the Christian Boxing Academy and Salvation Army to help youth in Cape Girardeau.
He also is involved with two outreach initiatives in Cape Girardeau. He and colleagues founded the Honorable Young Men’s Club as a non-profit that mentors to students at Cape Central High School. The club began as a once-a-week volunteer program, but now has been implemented in the school district. In addition, he serves as chief executive officer of Chosen Fitness, LLC, which supplies athletic gear, products, youth training and life coaching to the community.
“When God gives you your purpose, you just have to go for it,” Arkorful said. “He can take it to innumerable measures. I wasn’t created to consume or to just work. I was created to help others out as well.”
Arkorful graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in recreation and park administration. While at Southeast, he played cornerback for the football team and participated in Campus Outreach and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Upon graduating, he signed a contract to play Arena Football with the Florida Tarpons. After sustaining an injury, he returned to Cape Girardeau, served as a graduate assistant while pursuing a master’s degree in higher education administration and serving as the coordinator of intramural and club sports in Recreation Services at Southeast.
This fall, he begins a new position, serving as a district mentor with the Cape Girardeau Public Schools, serving the Cape Girardeau Junior High, Middle School and elementary schools.