I believe we all are looking for ways to give back to those that can use a helping hand. The ability to give back is often as close as your garage or sports closet where you have collected running shoes and sports equipment that your kids have outgrown or simply don’t need anymore because they have moved on to other activities. I have a wonderful story that started with Mark and Stacy McDaniel in Oklahoma City noticing that many kids playing basketball with their children at a local community center were playing in worn-out and non-athletic shoes. Wondering how they could help out, the McDaniels started thinking about all the tubs and boxes in their garage filled with outgrown sports shoes and equipment sitting there collecting dust. Soon, they were taking all this gear to the community center to help out other kids, and before long C4K (Cleats for Kids) was born.
I would like to thank my friend Tony Bumpas for a great introduction to Taylor Self, Communications Director of C4K, who was kind enough to spend some time with me this week providing a better understanding of the unique organization. Celebrating 10 years of growth, C4K has had an impact on more than 100,000 Oklahoma kids from over 200 school districts across the state.
Taylor along with the board and organizational staff are fired up to celebrate their 10th anniversary and are preparing for an exceptional year ahead, highlighting Gamechangers who have been incredible contributors to the growth of their organization. In Taylor’s words, “a Gamechanger is someone who finds new and innovative ways to serve others and their community. It means to be dedicated to thinking critically and compassionately about the world around them.” I love this description and can’t wait to see who they spotlight during their big anniversary year.
C4K has been successful because compassionate people have come together to conduct shoe and equipment drives spearheaded by volunteer groups from churches, businesses, and youth-oriented organizations. An important element of C4K’s success is the Kids Helping Kids connection where thoughtful middle school and high school students go out of their way to help other budding sports-minded kids get the gear they need to get in the game. C4K aims to show kids that they have the power to enact change in their own backyard, engaging them in philanthropy early in life.
Please check out this great video illustrating that sometimes all it takes is a good pair of cleats or running shoes to get in the game.
Taylor also highlighted the organization’s desire to help kids in other states that need athletic shoes and equipment. From an introduction by a board member, C4K started a new chapter in Cincinnati, Ohio, because a parent there thought it was a great way for his family to get involved in such a meaningful effort to get more kids participating in sports in school districts where resources are scarce. The organization is eager to help anyone interested in looking into providing new C4K chapters in additional locations. If you would like to talk to one of the great staff members about how you can get involved, please email your questions and interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As C4K spotlights impactful partners, coaches, and professional athletes that have been instrumental in funding drives and collecting sporting shoes and equipment throughout the year for kids all over the state of Oklahoma, I would like to encourage members of the 3rd Act community to get involved and think about if a similar endeavor makes sense in your town or community. What a great testament it would be to the founders, board members, and staff of C4K to know their inspirational garage donation is expanding in more locations across the country and helping even more kids get their feet in the game.
Please check out the Get Involved tab on the website to learn more about hosting a donation drive or making a financial donation to this great organization. Please go to www.cleatsforkids.org for inspiration and ways to get involved in your community.
Finally, I would like to encourage you to watch a great video Taylor sent me regarding the Simon Greiner Program. I think you will be inspired to learn more about this great organization and ways to contribute. Simon Greiner video here….
Have a great weekend and think about C4K when you are cleaning out your kid’s sports closets.
All the best,
Roger N. Steed