ELLEN KERSHAW – Serving Youth With Kershaw’s Challenge
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Tradition Senior Living
April 26, 2018
Ellen Kershaw, co-founder of Kershaw's Challenge, which provides for new housing in Zambia.

Kershaw’s Challenge – a faith-based, international non-profit serving at-risk children – arguably began when a thirteen-year-old Dallas girl turned on the television one day.

“I was in eighth grade and totally self-consumed,” said Ellen Kershaw. “I happened to see a special on TV about kids in Africa and how they lived – so completely different from how I lived.” She was left with a call that she was supposed to do something about those children.

“Fear kept me from taking steps – what could a teenager do to help thousands of African children?” said Ellen. By the time she went to college, however, this call became so strong that the fear of not acting on it outweighed the fear of failure.

“So, I spent every summer in Zambia with an American Christian camp. On the fifth trip, I met Hope,” said Ellen. Hope, a nine-year-old, HIV-positive orphan, was sitting on the side of the road. They picked her up in the van and took her back to the camp.

“The Lord placed her in my life – suddenly, I didn’t have to think about thousands of children, just one child,” said Ellen, with her infectious energy. “Hope was emotionless, but after a while, walls began to break down. We connected.”

“Fear kept me from taking steps – what could a teenager do to help thousands of African children? So, I spent every summer in Zambia with an American Christian camp.”

Ellen was not only thinking about one child, but also about one baseball player, Clayton Kershaw, whom she had dated since she was 14. They eventually married in 2010, and shortly after, they went to Zambia to see Hope. By then, Clayton was a starting pitcher with the Dodgers, and he and Ellen had already been sponsoring Hope. On the flight home, they asked each other, what do we do?

“What Hope obviously needed was a home and parents. That was when we started Kershaw’s Challenge, and with each strikeout Clayton pitched, he made a donation for a home to be built in Zambia. After that, each pitch was about something much bigger,” said Ellen. “It’s no coincidence that the year we started Kershaw’s Challenge, his career took off.”

They eventually saved money to build a home for Hope as well as other children, and they partnered with Arise Africa to do this. “There are now fourteen kids, including Hope, and the most amazing house parents run two homes,” said Ellen.  Hope, now seventeen, is thriving. “She’s funny!” says Ellen. “She will soon go to college.”

Ellen now has her own children – one three and one 15 months – and multiple trips to Africa have become impossible. But she and her husband still had a desire to serve and connect with children in need. Today, Kershaw’s Challenge is in Dallas, Los Angeles and the Dominican Republic (where Clayton has taken many mission trips), as well as in Zambia – partnering with organizations in each area to help unprivileged youth.

One strikeout at a time.

Kershaw’s Challenge exists to encourage people to use whatever God-given passion or talent they have to make a difference and give back to people in need.

Join Clayton Kershaw and make a donation per strikeout! See how and learn more at www.kershawschallenge.com.

You will be helping this year’s beneficiaries:

  • Dallas – Connecting Point Park Cities
  • Los Angeles – Dream Center and Just Keep Livin’
  • Africa – Arise Africa
  • Dominican Republic – International Justice Mission


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