An athletic trainer at Lyons Township High School is counting on students to search their closets and excavate their garages to find the sports equipment they no longer use and donate to students in economically deprived areas who need it.
The Sports Equipment Drive being held through March at both the Lyons Township High School campuses was spurred by athletic trainer Andrea Kovalsky. She wanted to do something special for March, which she said is National Athletic Training Month.
“We didn’t want to do another fundraiser for ourselves,” she said. “We thought, ‘Why not do good for someone else?'”
Kovalsky came across a nonprofit, The Sports Shed, that collects and donates gently used sports equipment for students in the Chicago area.
The organization was founded by Tina Sernett of Vernon Hills. She started the organization after noticing her family had equipment they no longer used and she wanted to make sure other students could have what they needed to enjoy the same opportunities in sports her children have had.
“I just had a real passion for sports and what a difference it can make for kids,” she said. “Part of our mission is to engage students in more affluent areas in thinking outside of themselves and make them aware there are children in the Chicago area who have little or nothing.”
She said the group donates the equipment to schools, after-school and sports programs.
“We have wish lists from them of what they need,” she said.
Though any sort of equipment is accepted, such as soccer balls to basketballs, items that are in particular need right now are high school baseball and softball equipment.
That’s what some members of the Lyons Township girl’s softball team donated. Riley Frisbie of Countryside, Maggie Vacchiano of Burr Ridge, and Tenley Bozzi of Brookfield, all seniors, recently dropped off some of their used softball gear.
“It felt really good,” said Vacchiano. “We get to pass on some of our opportunities to others.”
The items included helmets, catching gear and a bag of softballs.
Tenley said she has some equipment at home to donate. Her parents will likely be glad to hear she may be cleaning out the garage.
“I have so much stuff in my garage. It’s just filled,” she said. “I’d like to donate it to someone who needs it.”
For more information on The Sports Shed, visit thesportsshed.org.