Words of Hope
The Words of Hope Speaker Series is a seated luncheon featuring an author whose story reflects the Caritas mission.
The 2013 "Words of Hope" Speaker Series featured speaker Luma Mufleh, Coach of the Fugees and Inspiration for the National Bestseller Outcasts United.
Many Thanks to Our Corporate Underwriters!
Author Edition Sponsors
Ms. Genny Duncan
Maxwell Locke & Ritter
Mercedez-Benz of Austin - Rebecca & Bryan Hardeman
Trade Edition Sponsors
AW Media, Inc.
HPI Corporate Partners, LLC
Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Greenawalt
Texas Gas Service
Workplace Resource, LLC
6th Annual "Words of Hope" Speaker Series Book: Outcasts United
Outcasts United is the story of a refugee soccer team, a remarkable female coach and a small southern town turned upside down by the process of refugee resettlement.
Set against the backdrop of a fading American town struggling to accomodate its new arrivals, it is the stunning real-life story of an inspiring group of refugees and a woman who, with tough love and fiery determination, changes an entire community for the better.
The story of The Fugees and their coach embodies many of the ideals that are thought of as “American”: giving opportunity for self-fulfillment, using one’s own ideas and talents to help the common goal and remembering that “we don’t win or lose alone—it’s always the team score in the end.”
This remarkable story of how these players, with Mufleh at the helm, find ways to connect and cohere across broad cultural divides and oftentimes strong local resentment, will also be made into a Major Motion Picture by Universal Studios.
Click here to watch a video about Outcasts United.
About Luma Mufleh
Luma Mufleh is the inspirational coach of a soccer team called the Fugees—short for refugees. The players on this team come from 28 war-torn countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Congo, Somalia and Sudan. Most of them have endured unimaginable hardship, and all have been robbed of their childhood.
An immigrant from Jordan, Mufleh moved to Atlanta a year and a half after graduating from Smith College. While driving through the town of Clarkston, Georgia, she noticed a group of boys playing soccer in the street. They played without some of the most basic equipment—but they played for the sheer enjoyment of the game —something that reminded her of home. In the summer of 2004, she made fliers announcing tryouts for a soccer team. The flyers were in Arabic, English, French and Vietnamese and were distributed around apartment complexes where many refugees lived.
Mufleh quickly realized that the needs of this particular team were going to be unique. In addition to the challenges faced by every pre-teen and teenager, the players on this team were dealing with post-traumatic stress issues, language barriers, cultural disconnects and devastating poverty as their economic reality.
Today, Mufleh is a social entrepeneur who has created several businesses to gainfully employ refugees and immigrants in her community. Her latest endeavor is building the Fugees Academy, the very first school for refugee boys and girls in the United States.
Past Inspirational Speakers Include
Liz Murray, author of "Breaking Night" and whose story inspired the film "From Homeless to Harvard"
Rick Bragg, Pulitzer Prize winning author of "All Over but the Shoutin'"
Leigh Anne Tuohy, the woman whose life inspired the novel and film "The Blind Side"
Jeannette Walls, the author of "The Glass Castle"
Ron Hall and Denver Moore, authors of "Same Kind of Different as Me"