Andrew’s Foundation

This is what being on a team feels like

Hockey, Soccer, baseball, softball, lacrosse.  Our kids played some or all of these sports growing up. We think back on all of the good times we had during those seasons. They made great friends, learned amazing life lessons, learned to be a team player. They benefited in so many ways  – not just making them a good teammate, but a better person, a more compassionate person, and a better human being. They made friends that will last them through school and beyond. The memories, the jerseys, the trophies all become part of their lives and who they are. No matter how the teams did, they learned, they enjoyed, they grew.

Aren’t we all proud of the fact that we were able to afford these sports for our kids. Some were less expensive than others, some were too much, but we knew the value of being on a team and we stretched our dollars. We woke up early to take them, stayed out late for practices, and took off Fridays to go to tournaments. Their teams became our lives for years and we were very happy that way. The other team parents where our closest friends for the season and beyond. We wore their team colors, had team blankets, and cheered and took pictures that we shared proudly with our families.

CCI08012014_00000

Look at the faces of these kids. Every one is smiling and happy to be part of the team.

And then there are the others. Let’s talk about them. Those kids that cannot afford to play travel sports. Those kids that because of family circumstances cannot enjoy the benefits of being a team player. Of course they can still have success in life, and they do just fine, but they miss out on a huge part of growing up. Thankfully, almost every organization has a scholarship program that enable these kids can play. They can benefit from being on a team. The organizations realize that those who can afford to play have to support those who cannot afford it – and this is a good thing. I have seen several players who were scholarshiped become such an integral part of the team and learn so much. Andrew also saw this, and it meant a lot to him.

So there is money and spots for those who cannot afford. What is missing though, is a big part. And Andrew realized this. Let me tell  you a story.

One of Andrew’s hockey teammates would tie a pair of hockey socks around his shoulders to give the appearance that he wore shoulder pads. Without them he could not play, but he could not afford to buy real shoulder pad. His family just did not have the extra money to spend. Andrew talked to me about this and he did something about it. We went to some Manhattanville Men’s Hockey players we knew and told them about this player, and they were more than glad to donate a pair of pads for him. They knew the value of being on a team and wanted to help. Another player had holes in her gloves and we arranged for new gloves from the Woman’s team. And yet another player had such large feet that most hockey stores did not stock his size, but someone on Manhattanville was glad to donate his used, but very large, skates. Andrew was touched by this and really worked to get used equipment to players in need.

The point of the story is this. While most organizations have scholarship money for spots on a team, and most school teams don’t charge for playing or can subsidize players, there is nothing for those players in need of equipment. Organization won’t buy a player who wore or outgrew skates new skates. If a players stick breaks, there is no replacement that someone is going to give her. If a kid is using an expired helmet (yes, they do expire these days), no one is there to purchase him a new helmet so he can continue to be part of that team.

This is where we want to come in. The friends, team mates, and family who loved Andrew. The clients, peers, friends and co-workers of his parents.

In Andrew’s memory, and in his honor, we are stepping in and helping these kids who need equipment, but due to circumstances cannot afford what they need. We will be  there to buy them a new helmet, a new stick, shoulder pads, or even socks. We are going to make them whole again so that they can continue to pursue their dreams. This  is going to be a gift, not a loaner, not a rental, but a gift that they get to keep as their own. We are not going to make a public statement about it – we are not going to list who got what, privacy is so important in situations like this. But at the end of the season, or once a year, we will publish a list of what was given out, what items we gifted to needy individuals.

DSC_8821

Each and every one of Andrew’s coaches had a positive influence in his life. They were all part of his hockey family.

The goal is to make a difference in these kid’s lives. We are going to start with ice hockey because that was Andrew’s passion. And we want to start out small and learn how to do this correctly. Then our hopes and plans are to expand to other sports as time and finances allows us to.

Just think about how your kids, nephews, nieces, or your neighbors benefited from sports. Think of the fun, life experiences and other benefits that they were afforded being on a team – and being well equipped.  Look at any ice rink or ball park and you can see the fun these kids are having and the lessons they are learning in life. Please help us in helping the small percentage of kids who need our help. Let’s not lock them out because they could not buy a new stick or new skates. Let our compassion help these kids grow into fine human beings. It’s only a small part of their lives, but isn’t it worth it?

We do not have a name for the foundation yet, and hoping some creative friend will come up with a great name for us to use. Something that includes his name, but also the idea of what we are trying to accomplish here.

We are not soliciting donations now, but will within a few weeks. When we do, we really hope that we have can have a response that would make Andrew proud of what he started.

 

3 thoughts on “Andrew’s Foundation

  1. Sally

    What a wonderful way to honor Andrew by helping those in need with sports equipment so desperately needed, Perry!

    Reply
  2. susan wallace

    Good Sunday Morning Perry,

    This post really hit home, because I can truly relate to underprivileged kids… Last year, when I was teaching 5th grade in the Bronx, one of my students, Edgar – who happened to turn 13 by the middle of 5th grade, had a problem. He loved playing street hockey, and in the beginning of the year, when he was 12 he was still able to be part of his team, but when he turned 13, he was too old and no longer able to play. There was no team for the older kids. That being said, his team was part of the NY Rangers “Go Skate” program, their street hockey sponsored organization. Edgar “lived” for hockey. He was part of the class that was “mine” – special education – he read on a 3rd grade level, but could do math like nobody’s business… He was the oldest of five children. His parents both worked, but truly struggled. There would be times when Edgar came to school hungry, because there was nothing to eat for dinner, happily, breakfast and lunch were provided in school. What does all of this have to do with Andrew’s Foundation?

    One morning, Edgar came to school without a smile, which was truly unusual. Despite his circumstances, he was one of the happiest, well-liked kids in the class. He and I were always talking about hockey and his team, and we would laugh about things that happened. He won medals for being the “best” at this and that. He brought them all in to show me. So, on this particular morning, I asked him what was wrong, and he told me that someone had stolen all his team’s sticks, so they could no longer play. Although the Rangers sponsored the program, I suppose the red tape to get new sticks was difficult to navigate. By the time the sticks arrived, Edgar had turned 13, so he was off the team. Honestly, my heart ached for him.

    When the sticks disappeared, I couldn’t take it – these poor kids… so I started to check into donating sticks for the team. Since the Rangers sponsored the program, all the teams had to have the same equipment, and I kept being put off! So strange. I wanted to help, but was denied. I truly couldn’t understand it, and still don’t.

    What you and Dorothy are doing is touching, and makes my heart happy. It’s good people like you who make a true difference in the lives of children who, through no fault of their own, are unable to participate in activities that require financial means.

    I think the name “Andrew’s Foundation” fits. Personally, I don’t think you need a “catchy” name. The name you have chosen fits. Leave it at that.

    Good luck with this beautiful endeavor, and I’m sure Andrew is smiling as he plays hockey in Heaven with a bunch of guys that he is now friends with… maybe the team in Heaven has players who couldn’t afford to play on earth, but where they are now, there is only happiness… They are celebrating this “goal” you have made… Bravo, Perry, bravo.

    Susan

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *