UNITED STATES—”Girls are too weak and slow to play soccer,” these oppressive words echoed in Meghan Noone’s mind as she stood on the soccer field in Kunya Village, Kenya in 2008. Growing up in Philadelphia, Meg fell in love with Africa; the people, the culture, the Great Rift Valley by paging through issues of National Geographic magazine as a kid.
This prevailing attitude infuriated her, and was the impetus for creating Dada Meghan Girls’ Football Club. One more thing, this generous woman, who lives in Santa Monica, is currently Ms. California Coast America 2015. Though Noone had never competed in a pageant growing up, she won her very first time participating in Miss City of Angels on May 31, 2014.
This beauty queen has used her platform to empower the lives of young women through sports, education, clean water, conservation and reforestation. Noone quickly learned, “Soccer is the universal language”!
This life changing trip would be the impetus to start Noonetime in 2011. So much has changed in the last seven years for the young ladies in Kenya and Meghan herself.
Fast forward to 2008 when Ray Johnston (VP & Logistics Coordinator of Noonetime Charities and Owner of Jade Monkey Safaris), invited her to join him on a trip to Kenya, Africa-she visited an orphanage where some of the children were suffering from HIV/AIDS and Malaria. The elders from the orphanage asked Meghan to teach the kids something about herself. Soccer would break the language barrier, so Meghan brought a soccer ball and a pump and taught the kids footie.
Meg, being a lifelong athlete and soccer player, began to see her dreams come to fruition when she picked up that soccer ball in Kunya Village, Kenya.
However, upon returning from Kenya, she would face many obstacles and setbacks. The first being a near fatal infection that threatened to take her life and her dream. This year long ordeal left her physically, mentally and emotionally broken.
In her weakened state; with tubes coming out of her body she turned to prayer. “God, show me your will, I want to inspire and empower these children” Noone pleaded to God. After recovering a series of events occurred that made her realize God had answered her prayers by presenting opportunities to her that would alter her path forever.
Meghan learned about a TV show that was being produced by Ryan Seacrest on the “E! Network.” She wrote to the producers, was called in for an interview, and booked the gig. The panel of celebrity judges and the audience were so touched by her tale that she won twenty-two thousand dollars for the soccer program and the orphanage in Kenya, and officially formed Noonetime Charities in 2011. It has grown from one girls soccer team to eighteen, and every year they hold a Dada Meghan Girls Football Tournament in one of the local villages surrounding Lake Victoria.
Noonetime partnered with a local village in Bondo Village Kenya to create a clean water project in the area providing over 5,000 people with access to toilets, sinks, and showers. The project was completed in October of 2014. Every day women and young girls put their lives in danger collecting water from Lake Victoria. They face poisonous snakes, crocodiles, leeches and sharp hyacinth bushes just to retrieve drinking water.
“I witnessed a six year old girl wading into the water, stopping to pull leeches off of her legs every few steps. No child should have to go through that” she said. The clean water project provides sinks, toilets and showers to a community that has never had access to them before. Typhoid has decreased in the area due to the sanitation improvements.
Noonetime Charities partnered with ADCAM and The Mara Vision School in 2014. Their collective goal is to build a dormitory, to be completed in the summer of 2015, that will become a safe haven for the students.
Meg embarked on her latest trip on Thursday, July 23 en route to Kenya. She is bringing comedian and “The Price Is Right: host, Drew Carey, alongside for the journey. Carey is a huge soccer fan, and co-owner of the Seattle Sounders. The purpose of this years trip is to visit and spend time with the students of The Mara Vision School and to see the new dormitory where the students will live during the school year.
Before the dorms the students faced daunting treks, through the Masai Mara Game Reserve, risking their lives just to attend school. The dorms there provide a safe environment for the children to study and sleep, so they do not have to risk their lives traveling to and from school everyday.
Meghan understands that her vision could not have come to fruition without the support, love and generosity of many people in her life. There are too many to mention… but she wanted to say ASANTI SANA (Thank you very much) to you all.
The future for Noonetime includes conservation and reforestation projects as well as expanding their work with ADCAM and The Mara Vision School. Meghan will have little rest before competing at Ms. America 2015 in August in Brea, CA. She is honored to be representing Ms. California Coast America 2015. To learn more about this organization, or to donate visit; www.noonetime.org.