As we pioneer in providing millions of kids around the United States with brand new sporting equipment, we recognize that there are plenty of paths still waiting to be trailblazed. One such path led us and New Balance to the Boys & Girls Club of Isabela, Puerto Rico almost a year after Hurricane Maria.
“New Balance felt strongly about the donations going to Puerto Rico,” recalled Kayley Gallagher, Good Sports Corporate Partnerships Manager. “A lot of their employees are from PR and still have family there, so it was important to them to give back to their island when they needed it most.”
This wasn’t completely new territory for us: Good Sports had been to Puerto Rico once before to help benefit local baseball groups. Still, even with the past experience, English is only spoken by 10% of the Puerto Rican population.
“The language barrier was a huge challenge at times – some of the kids and staff from the club didn’t speak English,” said Aaron Johnson, Good Sports Partnerships Assistant. “This was certainly a barrier to our normal routine with events.”
At most Good Sports events, amazing kids are given their sporting equipment right there in the moment. For any team member, it’s an exchange they don’t forget – language barrier or not.
“They immediately lit up when they received their bag, shoes and apparel,” Johnson continued. “They may not have fully understood what was happening, but they recognized someone was helping them.”
Meeting kids in areas without easy access to sporting materials is common for our team, but it is not often that we’re present in post-disaster communities. Alongside the New Balance team, Puerto Rican national runner Bev Ramos and the Isabela Boys and Girls Club staff, Good Sports was able to cross into new nonprofit territory. Over 400 kids received their own personal packs of athletic equipment!