Life as a professional athlete comes with perks like fame, glory, and wealth. Being a professional athlete also comes with a platform and a rare opportunity to make changes and support causes that actually make the world a better place.
While training for an upcoming season with the Detroit Tigers, Matthew Boyd and his wife learned about vulnerable children in Uganda who were at risk of becoming sex slaves. Thanks to their platform, the couple managed to save dozens of girls and are now working to expand their mission…
During the spring of 2017, Matthew Boyd and his wife Ashley were settling into their new rented home in Lakeland, Florida. The couple had temporarily moved to Florida for Boyd’s spring training as the pitcher of the Detroit Tigers and was just getting settled into their new home and their new lives as parents.
According to the couple, they had just welcomed their first daughter into the world. During that training season, while Boyd was preparing for his third season with the Detroit Tigers, Ashley and Boyd were contacted by Carl Ralston, the director of a nonprofit called Remember Nhu.
Looking For A Way To Help
The nonprofit works to prevent child sex slavery around the world by sponsoring 108 homes in 16 countries. Ashley and Boyd are both deeply religious and had been looking for a way to help and serve others thanks to Boyd’s platform as a professional athlete.
The First Conversation
Ashley had previously worked for Remember Nhu after graduating college, so they decided to speak to Ralston to see if there was anything they could get involved with. During their first conversation, Ralston told the couple about Dorothy Stella Alue, a woman in Uganda who was caring for and giving shelter to 36 girls.
An Inspiring Couple
Dorothy, a 29-year-old mother of three, and her husband started the home for girls seven years ago after they rescued 25 girls that were being ferried to a city to work as commercial sex workers. “She kept finding all of these girls, who had been rescued out of situations, who had nowhere to go,” Ashley told the Detroit Free Press.
An Important Mission
“So she and her husband took them in. Just decided to let this be their mission,” Ashley explained about the inspiring mission, which saved the young girls from forced marriages, from being sold into the sex trade, and from female genital mutilation.
An Unexpected Tragedy
However, in July of 2017, Dorothy’s husband died unexpectedly and she was forced out of the home as a result. So Dorothy moved the girls to a rented home in another small town. However, the new home didn’t have running water and Dorothy didn’t have any source of income to feed the girls, clothe them, pay for medical bills, or pay for their school fees.
Reaching Out For Help
At the time Dorothy didn’t think she’d be able to continue her and her late husband’s mission, but she decided to reach out to Remember Nhu before giving up. According to Ralston, most requests for help don’t check out or pass their thorough screening process. Dorothy’s story checked out perfectly, so Remember Nhu agreed to help her.
A Touching Story
Ashley and Boyd were touched by the story but didn’t know how they could help Dorothy, who was a victim of female genital mutilation herself and had escaped becoming a child bride. “He just laid out her story,” Ashley said. “She has a heart for rescuing girls. It kind of stems back to her personal history.”
A Surprising Request
“We didn’t know where he was going with it,” said Ashley, who assumed Ralston was going to ask them for a donation. “Maybe, he’s just going to ask for money, I don’t know. But then he actually asked if we would want to start our own organization to support them.”
A Daunting Task
“We were shocked. It wasn’t something we expected,” Ashley said. The thought of starting their own organization to protect kids vulnerable to becoming sex slaves was incredibly daunting especially given that Ashley and Boyd were brand new parents to their daughter, Meira, who is now 1½.
Thinking It Over
“We said we want to think about it, pray about it,” Ashley said. “We are trying to figure out how to run our own lives, let alone a nonprofit organization. We didn’t immediately jump on it. It was also very daunting. We just brought our first child into the world and now, here, we are going to be responsible for 36 children in Uganda?”
According to the Boyds, they reflected on the opportunity and prayed about what they should do. It didn’t take long for Ashley and Boyd to decide to go ahead with the project and essentially adopt 36 girls in Uganda even though they had no idea what they were getting themselves into.
Getting To Work
“This is what we were supposed to do. That was the start of something way bigger than we ever would have known,” said Ashley, who immediately threw herself into the project. Ashley created their organization, a nonprofit called Kingdom Home, started raising money, did tons of research, and gathered supplies.
Creating A Plan
In addition, Ashley worked with Dorothy to help create a short and long-term plan for their project. “They loved the girls from the first time they read our story,” Dorothy told the Detroit Free Press. “They devoted themselves to helping us by offering us shelter, food, education by paying the girls’ school fees and even spiritual nurture.”
“We now have three meals every day because of Matt and Ashley. We have water running on our tap, we no longer walk the long journey we used to walk in search of water. The girls have good beds and beddings to sleep on. They have balls to play with, which were brought by Matt and Ashley. They go to school in uniform just like the other children. We just feel at home all courtesy of Matt and Ashley. There is a lot Matt and Ashley are planning to do for us and we just thank them so much and pray for them,” Dorothy said.
A Life-Changing Trip
After the Tigers’ 2018 season, the Boyds traveled to Uganda to meet Dorothy and the girls in person. That trip put everything into perspective for the couple and inspired them to work even harder. Currently, the Boyds’ home in Uganda is completely full, so they are working to expand their mission.
In the next three years, the Boyds are hoping to buy land and build four new homes so they don’t have to turn girls away. To make that happen, the couple is selling tickets for a fundraiser in March 2019 in Tampa and another fundraiser in May in Auburn Hills.
Can’t Do It Alone
According to Ashley, they are hoping to raise $50,000 at the Tampa event. “We are shooting for the stars here,” said Ashley. Thankfully, Boyd’s team is supporting them both with their inspiring mission to protect children vulnerable to forced sexual exploitation. “The whole (Tigers) team is coming.”
Protecting The Vulnerable
“We love them all like our own family,” said Ashley, who is now also expecting her second child with Boyd. “You know what? We can end child sex trafficking in Uganda,” Boyd told the Detroit Free Press. “The bad guys aren’t smarter than us. We can end this. We can outsmart them. We can beat them to the kids. We can protect them.”