Team Red Bowl

Under the bright African sun, children are playing soccer. Only one of the children speaks English, but their squeals of delight can be translated across any language. For Edmond resident Tracy Zserdin, watching her 8-year-old son, Jake, connect to children on the other side of the world is what it’s all about.  

“I just want him to know that every person has value, no matter what skin color they have, no matter what continent they’re on,” Zserdin says of her decision to travel with her son to South Africa this summer as a part of a nonprofit movement called Team Red Bowl. “I want him to know that this life isn’t all about him. We’re not just here to get our next toy … to know that we have a short time here, we have an opportunity to help other people,” she said. And it was an opportunity to help others that got Zserdin and the rest of her family involved in Team Red Bowl, an initiative from international nonprofit organization Joint Aid Mission or JAM.

JAM began in 1984 when its South African founder, Peter Pretorius was stranded at a food distribution center in Mozambique, according to Zserdin. There, he saw more than 300 people die from malnutrition and  resolved to develop programs to allow his country to help itself. Now, JAM has operations in seven countries and several programs that include economic and nutritional initiatives, according to their website. Team Red Bowl is one such program.

The program helps feed more than 500,000 children in schools and malnutrition centers daily, according to the website. With the organization’s desired expansion for raising funds and awareness in the United States and a chance meeting between Zserdin’s husband and Pretorius’ son, the Zserdin family in January became the first fundraising