Five teens from Windermere Prep School combine their compassion and love of sport to make a difference in the community through the Play for Keeps Foundation.
Second-year students Jackson Bennett, Michael Crocetti, Matthew Lucas, Maaz Mohuiddin, and JT Rattigan have organized fundraisers and fundraisers to collect sports equipment that is delivered to Central Florida students in need.
Play for Keeps was started by Sue Lucas, president of the foundation.
“Our goals for the foundation are to have a positive impact on the less fortunate children of the Orlando area, whether through sports, mentoring, or any other need we can meet,” said students. “We wanted to do something about sports because the majority of kids love sports, and it was the passion of everyone involved.”
At the first event, the boys donated basketballs to Hungerford Elementary School.
“After learning that their PE teacher was running out of usable basketballs, we raised some funds and got about 20 brand-new basketballs to donate.
The second event was a sports ball drive, and foundation members contacted the Windermere Prep community, asking students to bring any unused sports equipment home. Over 60 balls were donated, along with jump ropes and other toys, and these were donated to the community of Windsor Cove.
“The parking lot was immediately transformed into a playground when we arrived, with kids running around, throwing balls and having fun. It was truly an eye-opening event for everyone involved to see how much of an impact the foundation can make, ”the boys said.
Over Christmas, the teens donated over 300 stockings – filled with small gifts – to students at Mollie Rae Elementary. This school was chosen because many students from the Windsor Cove community attend.
“We are really aiming to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged children across the Orlando area,” the members said. “Whether it’s through sports, mentoring or basic necessities, we’re here to help and positively influence the lives of these children.
The most recent fundraiser was a virtual 5K “Kicks for Kids”. Their goal was $ 6,000, enough to buy 300 pairs of athletic shoes for Mollie Rae’s students.
A total of 35 runners participated and they also received donations from people who were not able to run.
The teens have reached their goal but continue to accept donations at pfkfoundation.org/ so they can enrich the lives of even more children.
“It was a real learning experience to coordinate a virtual race, but I think we would all say it was a great first attempt,” the boys said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to collect money to purchase sports equipment, food and clothing for students.
On the fundraising page, they wrote: “We believe a zip code shouldn’t define how much exercise kids get and that coaches, mentors and sports can build our youth’s confidence. . We don’t just make financial contributions. We find specific needs, buy or collect these items, personally deliver them – and if it’s a bullet, we stick around for a few pickup games. And we never leave without sharing some great food and hydration with the kids after a little exercise.
The boys want to pursue their goal of providing joy to as many children as possible through sport.
WPS High School Principal Dr. Leslie Williams is happy to see her students turn their love of sport into a project that helps others:
“We are so proud of their community action where they took their passions and put them into practice to help the community.”
“We know our small nonprofit won’t change the world, but it will make a big difference in the world of every child we reach,” they wrote on GoFundMe.