Jen Kessy & April Ross: From the Olympics to Haiti Charity
08/13/2012 AT 07:45 AM EDT
Kessy, 35, and Ross, 30, are teaming up with 4POINT4, who outfitted both women during the Olympics, to teach underprivileged children in Haiti and Thailand their beloved game.
"Having the chance to play sports growing up teaches you all kinds of life lessons. It gives young people confidence and instills in them motivation and drive to be the best one can be. It's absolutely invaluable," Ross says.
"The fact that we can help children in Haiti and Thailand through the support we are given by 4POINT4 is such a blessing. I really feel like it can be life changing for those kids."
She adds, "We can't wait to see the little girls we are working with in Phuket [Thailand]. We know they were supporting us in the Olympics and we know there is so much more we can do for them."
Kessy and Ross captivated the nation when they took on reigning beach volleyball champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings for the gold medal.
It was the first time since 1996 – when beach volleyball made its Olympic debut – that two teams from the same country competed for the gold.
After the excitement of the London Games, trading Olympic events and grueling training for helping the less fortunate is a welcome change of pace for the athletes.
"To be an Olympic athlete you need to be a little selfish and think about your own needs a lot," says Kessy. "Now that the Olympics are over, I can't wait to help others and put my needs on the back burner."