Ivy Leaf - Fall 2004

I Will Survive


Defying the "Reality TV" stereotype of shallow and materialistic contestants, the winner of Survivor: Africa is using his 15 minutes of fame – and his million dollar winnings – to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

During his visit to Penn State Altoona this fall, Ethan Zohn—former professional soccer player and winner of Survivor: Africa—told students how his roles as a soccer player in the United State and Zimbabwe and as a winner of Survivor led him to his most recent role as a philanthropist.

Zohn took his million-dollar winnings from Survivor: Africa and invested them in a non-profit organization based in Zimbabwe. The group, called "Grass Roots Soccer," provides AIDS and HIV education conducted by professional soccer players.

Zohn now speaks to college students across the country as an extension of his desire to make a difference. As part of his speech, he shared his belief in the importance of personal character, citing it as the reason he won the reality game show and the tool that got him through his first year of instant celebrity.

"Most people assume that in order to win at Survivor or in life, you often have to compromise your values to get ahead, but that's not the case," he said. "Knowing what's important to you and using your values to make important decisions will never serve you wrong."