EASTCHESTER, N.Y. - With many families clearing out their closets and garages as they ramp up spring cleaning efforts, an Eastchester student is calling on her neighbors to “play it forward” by donating used sports equipment for a good cause.
As part of her Girl Scout Gold project, Eastchester High School junior Lauren Gresia began “Play it Forward,” collecting gently used sports equipment that in turn is being donated to the Eastchester Community Action Partnership (ECAP) to benefit some of the area’s families in need.
A multi-sport athlete, Gresia said that the idea for a sports equipment drive came naturally when she decided to go for her Gold Scout Gold Award.
“I wanted to create a project that was based on an activity I love to do: play sports. Ever since I can remember, I have always been playing several different sports," she said. "Through the years, sports have impacted my life in such a positive way, allowing me to make strong friendships with my teammates and coaches, as well as teaching me vital lessons I will always keep with me.”
Since beginning “Play it Forward,” Gresia has collected nearly 1,000 pieces of gently used sports equipment. She said that she isn’t overly particular about donations, she simply is looking for “anything that you have that you are no longer using.”
“My drive is open to any type of equipment from a basketball, to soccer cleats and shin guards, to baseball bats, to lacrosse padding, (anything).” she noted. “Any item that relates to sports, I can use to donate. The equipment I ask for is to be gently used. I do not want people going out to buy brand new equipment. Being in a family, and a town, that is big on sports, I know how much unused equipment can be lying around the house.
“The first time I counted all the equipment, I was surprised to see that my whole entire basement was covered with it where there was room to walk.”
For three years, Gresia has been a mentor to the Eastchester High School’s special needs golf team. The second part of her Girl Scout Gold project includes developing a sports program at the school, emphasizing cohesion between student-athletes and special needs students through sport education.
“I thought that besides mentoring and helping teach golf, it would be fun to have high school student athletes teach and play golf and other sports, such as soccer and basketball, with the special needs students once a week to expose them to the various sports and develop friendships and create interaction,” she said. “I hope this drive gives children the opportunity to play different sports and have sports change their lives.”
“Play it Forward” is an ongoing drive, that Gresia plans to pass along to a younger troop member when she graduates next year. Those interested in donating can email Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will pick up the equipment and deliver them to ECAP.