The next time you are in your garage (or basement or attic), take a look around. Chances are you will see a box or a bag full of soccer balls, baseball mitts, or tennis rackets that haven’t been touched for years. Now there is a way to clear off that shelf while giving your used sports equipment a new life.
Hendrick Hudson High School juniors Josh Shea (pictured right) and Tyler Robinson have kicked off Comeback Kids Sports, an initiative to collect new or lightly used equipment and get it to kids who will really appreciate having it.
In the first few months of the effort, they have collected more than 300 items from local residents and prepared shipments for aspiring baseball players in Columbia (South America), and a youth soccer league in Ghana (West Africa).
Click HERE to listen to a conversation with Tyler and Josh with Dr. Tony Di Giacomo’s and A Novel Take
DONATE YOUR GEAR
Finding the equipment is the easy part. “Just about everybody has gear that underprivileged kids could use,” said Shea. “It’s just a matter of providing an opportunity to donate it.”
To that end, the pair created a website (see below), where local residents can make arrangements to donate equipment. The site includes a list of items sought and instructions about how to donate.
One early donation came from Rotary Club of Croton-on-Hudson after a Club member snapped up a dozen discounted baseball gloves from a Modell’s store closing sale. A contact at Croton Little League recommended Comeback Kids Sports, and the Rotarians’ gloves made it into the shipment to Colombia.
In order to get the equipment to underprivileged kids, the pair has developed contacts made in travel sports and baseball showcases to find coaches and organizers with connections in underdeveloped countries who can get the equipment to deserving youth athletes.
Shea and Robinson intend to stay in touch with the kids who receive the equipment and act as long distance mentors.
“Sports has meant a lot to us,” said Robinson. “This is a way for us to give back by helping less fortunate kids have a positive experience.”
“The playing field is a place where we can forget our daily worries,” the pair wrote on their website. “When you step on the field, it doesn’t matter how much money you have or where you come from.”
Comeback Kids Sports will be preparing its next shipment later in the fall, so now is a good time to take stock of your old sports equipment and donate anything you no longer need.
Rob Abbot is a retired schoolteacher who lives in Croton-on-Hudson. He is a member of the Croton Rotary Club.