CHAMPS Program

There are many opportunities for you to become a part of CHAMPS and our mission to one day live in a mine-free world. CHAMPS campaigns in 16 states have successfully sponsored 48 mine detection dogs, have helped hundreds of survivors receive proper medical care and rehabilitation, and have connected students from across the world to promote awareness of the global landmine issue. CHAMPS is also expanding into Canada, and MLI invites schools, students, teachers, and parents to join the campaign!

What is CHAMPS?

MLI staff visit schools and community groups around the U.S. to teach students and young people about landmines and their effects on people in other countries. Through simulated minefield demonstrations with MLI’s “canine ambassador,” a retired mine detection dog, youth witness how Mine Detection Dogs (MDDs) restore safety by “sniffing out” landmines.

Youth can then initiate their own CHAMPS campaign to raise money and sponsor their very own MDD. Students have the opportunity to name their dog and MLI staff will provide regular reports on the dog’s progress so that the youth are able to see the positive impact their MDD is having on a war-torn community.

Additionally, MLI connects students with schools in mine-affected countries to promote global citizenship and cultural exchange. Through monthly video conferences, the youth are not only able to learn about each other, but the children in the mine-affected countries often identify young landmine survivors in their community that the students in the U.S. can then raise money to support.

Successes

 
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162,000+

People have received lifesaving Mine Risk Education

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1,352

Landmine survivors assisted through CHAMPS

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$900,000

Money raised by CHAMPS kids to sponsor 48 MDDs

Since the program began in 2003, MLI’s CHAMPS team has given over 160 presentations throughout the U.S. Thirty-one U.S. schools have been engaged with CHAMPS, and more than 200 international video calls have taken place between American youth and peers abroad.

CHAMPS programs have been established in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, Lebanon, Vietnam, and Yemen. U.S. students, touched by survivors’ stories, have raised money providing hundreds of landmine survivors with the medical treatment they need. Learn more about CHAMPS projects in these countries here.

CHAMPS campaigns are currently ongoing in California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas. If you are interested in getting involved in CHAMPS, please contact us!

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Ongoing Campaigns

There are currently five ongoing campaigns held by different CHAMPS groups. Each campaign is fundraising $20,000 to sponsor a mine detection dog! Josef Marschall of Maryland, Glenelg Country School, the students and community of Dayton, Ohio, and multiple schools in Connecticut are working hard to help those in war-torn countries live free from the fear of landmines. To help and check out how each campaign is doing, click the fundraise buttons below.

Josef Marschall's Campaign

Josef Marschall's hard work and tireless pursuit of CHAMPS goals at the Glenelg Country School in Maryland are greatly appreciated by the Marshall Legacy Institute. Despite COVID-19, Josef has continued his amazing work, advocating for a mine-free world and raising funds to sponsor his very own Mine Detection Dog. 

 

U.S. Campaigns

Click on the bubbles in each state to read about previous CHAMPS Campaigns!

 

Meet Canine Ambassador Rico Cosby

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After six years of dedicated and lifesaving work sniffing out landmines in Bosnia and Herzegovina, MDD Rico Cosby retired in the summer of 2022 and was adopted by MLI's Educational Programs Director, Anne Wooleyhand, to become MLI's Canine Ambassador! MDD Rico, who was sponsored by Henry Harris & The Brunswick School as part of the CHAMPS program, along with his handler Kenan Mahira Gluhovic, were an outstanding example of the incredible impact a man-dog team can have on mine clearance operations. Together, they contributed to the clearance of more than 600,000 square meters of land and were part of making Sarajevo mine free in 2020. 

Today, Rico is enjoying his golden years at home with Anne and her husband Eric. Although Rico no longer spends his days searching for landmines, some things never change - his favorite foods are Frosty Paws and dog cookies, only second to his favorite toy, the kong! As MLI's Canine Ambassador, Rico is helping to spread awareness of the landmine issue by traveling throughout the U.S. and meeting with youth, teachers, and others who are interested in learning more about the impact of lifesaving dogs like himself. 

 

You can follow the adventures of Rico’s retirement on Facebook and Instagram @mddrico.

If you are interested in having MDD Rico visit your school so you can learn more about CHAMPS and our landmine removal programs, send us a message or call 703-243-9200. 

 

Special Opportunities

In many cases, student leaders who have led CHAMPS campaigns are nominated by their teacher to visit Washington, D.C. and attend MLI’s annual Clearing the Path Gala. The Gala offers an opportunity for student leaders and teachers to learn more about our work, meet other honorees, and tour the nation’s capital during their stay. While we are pleased to provide complementary Gala tickets to CHAMPS student leaders and teachers, we are unable to assist with travel or accommodation costs.

 

Student leaders and teachers from CHAMPS campaigns also have had the opportunity to travel with MLI staff as members of donor delegations to mine-affected countries to see their sponsored Mine Detection Dogs at work, meet government officials who oversee demining operations, and interact with the host country’s CHAMPS leaders. Donor delegations must bear the cost of travel expenses.

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