What could we do with $1,000?
We were recently asked this question when applying for a grant to help fund the David Glasser Foundation Sports programs.
This is our answer –
With a grant of $1000 we can change the lives of 10 kids. These kids live in one of the highest crime areas of Phoenix. One or both of their parents are in jail so they live with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins or friends. They come to the first day of school with no backpacks and no supplies because the people they are staying with are struggling just to keep shoes on all of these growing kids. These are the ‘extra kids’. These are our kids.
Our ‘extra kids’ work hard at school, always doing their homework and assignments. They behave in class, wanting to learn as much as they can, and they try to help other kids learn, too. They don’t understand why some of the kids are messing around and pretending to be sick so they don’t have to come to school. Don’t they understand that they need to be smart in order to get ahead in the world and get out of this neighborhood where so many bad things happen?
Our ‘extra kids’ often feel like they don’t belong anywhere. They see the flyers around school for the David Glasser Foundation Basketball league but they could never ask the people they live with to spend that kind of money on them. These kids love basketball – they love all sports and want to grow their skills in any and all of them. They hear some of the other kids at school talking about the league’s Wednesday basketball practices where the coaches really make them work them hard but its fun. The kids that are part of the league also talk about other things they learn – like respect, dependability, and teamwork.
Our ‘extra kids’ know that the league is named after a Police Officer who was killed in their neighborhood while he was working to help make it a safer place to live. They understand that David Glasser made a difference. Our kids dream of making a difference in this world as well, they just aren’t sure how that is ever going to happen. There are days that they are very discouraged by their situations and they don’t know if all of their hard work is worth it because nothing seems to be getting better.
But that all changed the day they received a scholarship letter from the David Glasser Basketball League! The letter said they were chosen to receive a full scholarship for the league because of their excellent behavior and participation in their classes. They were being awarded for their consistently positive contribution to their school community. Their hard work was paying off! They were in! This is what they had been dreaming of.
Now they belonged. Now they were being challenged to be the best basketball player they could be as well as the best person they could be. Their team felt very special – different from just a regular team. Was that because their league was named after a man who really cared about their neighborhood and proved it by his actions?
Their head coaches, who were their PE teachers, gave them a high-five every day when they saw them. Their coaches really saw them and were interested in them – often mentioning a great play they made in the game last Saturday.
They are no longer just ‘extra kids’. Now they are part of the David Glasser Basketball league and on their way to making a difference in their community.