This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author’s own.
Last year, Play It Forward was launched to collect and distribute unneeded and outgrown baseball and softball gear to area youth Horsham Little League players. To date, the program has collected over 1,000 pieces of donated equipment and has helped equip over 120 HLL players across the Horsham community. Now, ‘Play It Forward’ is expanding to Horsham Soccer.
Today, especially with COVID isolation, there are major issues impacting the welfare of children related to their physical fitness and mental health. This is amplified by the fact that participation in sports among families earning less than $75,000 has dropped since 2011, according to The Aspen Institute’s Project Play. According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association only 38 percent of kids aged six to 12 played team sports on a regular basis, down from 45 percent in 2008.
Beyond this, the average American family spends approximately $700 per year on their child’s sports activities, according to Project Play. These increasing costs related to youth sports are a major factor for families earning $50,000 or less indicating that cost is the top reason their kids don’t participate in organized sports, according to the Rand study. And COVID is perpetuating this issue.
According to Katie Harrington, a Hatboro-Horsham High School sophomore and the founder of ‘Play It Forward,’ “The program’s mission is to get more kids involved in youth sports while helping other players stay involved in these activities by providing donated gear to help decrease the increasing costs of sports. Expanding to Horsham Soccer makes a lot of sense given the popularity of the sport and the widespread reach of Horsham Soccer to kids and families across the Hatboro-Horsham community.”
As Ashley Rivera, a Horsham Soccer Board Member, explained,”We’re really excited to have Play It Forward as part of our organization to help get more kids playing soccer by getting them gear. Kids benefit from sports on so many levels, especially with today’s COVID limitations, by boosting their physical health, elevating their mental well being, and increasing their social activity. It also helps them learn life skills like leadership, teamwork and sportsmanship. So, we want to get as many kids out on the playing field as possible and Play It Forward helps us accomplish this.”
The first Play It Forward donation station for Horsham Soccer will take place Sunday, October 18 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at Kohler Fields at 1100 Limekiln Pike, Ambler, PA 19002. If you have unneeded or outgrown soccer gear, including cleats, balls, shin guards, bags, etc. you are invited to stop by to donate them to get into the hands of a youth player in the community.
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