We’re a national non-profit, so it’s important that our donation events are in communities of high need. And when we work hand-in-hand with a partner, we know that partner wants to see their impact close by. People take a lot of pride in their job, so why not the community their job resides in, too?

We just wrapped up a major Pick-Pack-Play event with our partners at New Balance Foundation. Safe to say, you’ve probably heard of them, but you should know they have multiple facilities throughout the country. We were able to work directly with the crew of Lawrence, Massachusetts so their employees could make a difference in their own backyard.

Two hundred employees (yup, you read that right) took an entire day to pick and pack over $120,000 worth of sports equipment and apparel to impact more than 52,000 children throughout the Lawrence and Boston area of Massachusetts. Because of New Balance Foundation’s ability to help us find more quality gear to donate, over 45 youth-serving organizations were to become donation recipients. In a nutshell, big stuff was happening and we owed it to New Balance.

Partway through the picking and packing process, reps from a few individual organizations came out to give their thanks, as well as collect their donated items. It was during these small speeches that many New Balance volunteers learned how far their efforts were going that day.

“I walked into the room and I was overwhelmed,” exclaimed Joe Petrosino, the Athletic Coordinator at Wetherbee, a middle school in Lawrence. As it turned out, many volunteers in the room were parents of students within Lawrence Public Schools.

“I know if our kids were here today, they would be so grateful,” expressed Andres Burbank-Crump, Program Director of Squashbusters Lawrence. “A lot of the time, when we can take our kids out to tournaments, you’ll see competitors from places like Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston – but no one’s ever heard of Lawrence.”

“With gear like this, the kids can really take pride in themselves at these games so people will have heard of Lawrence.”
– Andres Burbank-Crump, Program Director, Squashbusters Lawrence

HavingĀ pride in where you’re from; what a novel idea! We should all be so lucky to be from places like ‘The Big Apple’ or ‘The Windy City,’ or any other major metropolis that has an endearing nickname (Boston is ‘Beantown,’ in case you were taking notes). But, what about the towns in between? As soon as the idea of having pride in one’s hometown came into the conversation, the New Balance Foundation employees were able to see their good work through a different lense. For many of them, they were impacting an organization down the street, a community center they’ve driven by, or even the school their own children attended. Suddenly, the location of where we were became a lot bigger.

At Good Sports, we know that kids do better in life when they have access to new and proper sports gear, apparel, and footwear. The physical impact is obvious: with more gear to go around within a program, there is more money leftover to cut costs in things like league fees, travel, and field permits. But, when we work with a partner like New Balance, Good Sports is able to observe a different need being met: hometown pride.

We always say “root for the home team,” but sometimes it takes a bit of effort to bolster that team up. Having an ally like New Balance Foundation, our combined efforts resonate on a multitude of levels that will echo throughout a school system, community centers, and groups of kids. Kids that will grow their own sense of pride in where they’re from, and then pass on that pride to the generation that comes next.