Nike Soccer Balls Kick Off “Summer In The Park”
DONATION: NIKE SOCCER BALLS
LIVES IMPACTED: 150
At The Los Alamos Foundation, our mission is to preserve and promote the rich history and culture of our community and to serve those who live and work in Los Alamos, CA and our surrounding communities. Each year we hold our biggest event, the “Summer in the Park” youth recreation program. We started this program four years ago because there are no other summer activities for children in our community and most do not have access to transportation to community programs. We also have a shortage of job opportunities for high school & college students who, again, lack transportation to drive to a job. Summer in the Park provides structured, supervised activities to children ages 3 through 13 and we hire our high school & college students to work as recreation counselors.
Soccer is, by far, the most popular sport here. We have portable goals that we take with us to the park each day and we have kids of all ages out there from the minute we open, until we close for the day. We also use the soccer balls for our kickball games, so they get plenty of use! Being able to get eight quality Nike soccer balls for such a small cost helped us stretch our dollar for other goods a little farther. We have sports equipment, crafts & art supplies, blocks and building toys, dress up clothes, trucks, dolls, pop-ups and more. With 85 kids using them, these materials need constant replacement & since all of our budget comes from fundraisers and donors we need to squeeze as much as we can from each dollar. Saving on soccer balls means more craft supplies or Legos.
We have a seven year old who has some behavioral issues related to Asperger’s syndrome. He is a loner who wants to make friends, but often has trouble. We all work hard to help him have successful days each time he comes. Usually, he is engaged in building activities and hasn’t shown much interest in sports but that hasn’t stopped our staff from encouraging him to give it a go. Not too long ago I looked out on the soccer field and saw him next to a teenage staff member, playing goalie! He looked just like any other kid out there and he was so excited he had a chance to kick the ball. His grandmother was stunned when she came to pick him up and saw him out there playing a team sport. These are the kind of opportunities and successes that come with access to a playing field and a few soccer balls.