What has fastpitch softball done for you? For so many of us it has increased our confidence, kept us fit, taught us new physical and mental skills and at the very least has delivered years of fun and smiles that will remain with us for a lifetime. Unfortunately, there are kids around the country (and world!) who are interested in the sport, but don’t have access to the basic equipment like gloves, bats, balls or even decent footwear, and may never get the chance to take away what we have from the game of softball. However, another lesson softball teaches us is how to be good leaders and there are athlete leaders all around the country who have taken charge with a mission to make fastpitch more accessible to kids from any background. These are some of our favorite programs:
Founded by Chicago Bandits outfielder, Emily Friedman, Give-a-Glove hosts a drive each year at the National Pro Fastpitch Championships to collect used softball glove donations. Give-a-Glove then distributes the softball gloves to underprivileged athletes around the country and the world. Kids of all ages are eligible to receive gloves, so donations can range from your tee-ball glove that you grew out of after the first season, to you college glove which you may have upgraded from.
The Give-a-Glove Foundation originated when Friedman took a trip to Honduras in 2007 and worked with a friend in the Peace Corps and her NPF family to collect 60 gloves, 10 dozen balls and additional equipment for the Honduran kids. As of 2010, the Give-a-Glove Foundation had set a goal to collect 3100 new and used gloves at the NPF Championships.
Glove of the Game
Founded by Maggie Wellborn, Glove of the Game, provides underprivileged Atlanta area teams with the equipment they need to pursue their love of softball. Maggie created the non-profit in her sophomore year at Westminster and has continued to grow the foundation for the past three years. In 2012, For Glove of the Game sponsored its first event at Towers high school in Atlanta, providing an all-day clinic coached by Westminster athletes and staff, for the Towers softball players and their siblings. Each attendee received a new glove, batting gloves, gear bag and ball so they could chase their softball dreams without worrying about their equipment. You can read more about Maggie and For Glove of the Game at http://www.maggiewellborn.com/philanthropy
What else can be done?
Each of us has the opportunity to help others. Whether it’s donating equipment or simply your time, you can use the skills you’ve learned in fastpitch to help athletes less fortunate than you chase their own softball dreams. At Ringor, if there’s one thing we have, it’s the knowledge of softball cleats! So, we’re giving away a pair of our new Spark molded youth softball cleats to a team in need with each purchase our customers make of $100 or more from our store. What resources do you have that you can share with the softball community? Let us know in the comments. Also share your own stories of softball athletes helping others and we’ll cover it in our blog. You can also nominate underprivileged teams and athletes who you think should receive a pair of our Spark youth softball cleats..