When COVID-19 first hit, I was living in Eugene, Oregon. I found a little neighborhood next to the gym I was going to that I would run around almost every day. Before things started to close and schools were still in session, the neighborhood was pretty quiet in terms of how many people were out and about.
Once schools closed and people started working from home, the neighborhood transformed. I have never seen so many parents playing sports outside with their kids. It was so nice to see.
Sports can have a huge impact on a child’s life and with everything going on in the world right now, it’s the perfect time for children to learn new skills, stay active, and practice sports at home. That being said, it is difficult for many families to afford new sports equipment and gear.
According to Project Play, an initiative on youth sports from the Aspen Institute, “in 2018, 22% of kids ages 6 to 12 in households with incomes under $25,000 played sports on a regular basis, compared to 43% of kids from homes earning $100,000 or more. Kids from the lowest-income homes are more than three times as likely to be physically inactive.”
I’ve been trying to think of easy ways people can make a difference while practicing social distancing. I started to think about all of the soccer balls I had growing up. For my high school graduation party, we lined my driveway up with old soccer balls. Although it was fun to put the soccer balls on display, I now realize they could have been passed on to other kids instead of sitting in the garage for years.
I feel like most people don’t know what to do with sports equipment once they no longer use it, and I feel like a lot of good equipment gets thrown away.
Donating sports equipment is an easy way to help more kids get involved with sports.
Growing up, soccer was a huge part of my life. Playing soccer shaped me into the person I am today and I am forever grateful for that. I always knew that I wanted to help more kids get involved with sports.
In the spring of 2016, I went on a trip to Nicaragua. I went with other students from the University of Oregon through an organization called Courts for Kids. Building a sports court in Nicaragua was one of the best experiences of my life. The kids showed me what it’s like to have fun with simple things. Seeing their faces when the court was finished is something I will never forget.
Getting soccer equipment and gear as a child was exciting for me, but I always knew that I would be able to get new equipment if I needed it. Going to Nicaragua really showed me how good I have it and that many kids aren’t able to buy sports equipment whenever they need it.
By donating more quality sports equipment, more kids will have the opportunity to play sports, just like the kids in Nicaragua.
Check out these organizations to learn more about the issue and what you can do to help (and places you can donate at):