One of the things that came to our attention when my wife Tina and I first moved to the Santa Cruz area was the community’s amazing commitment to youth athletics. We’ve seen in our children's lives the important role that a well-operated and -funded athletic program can make, and how good coaches and programs instill in their young athletes confidence, work ethic, and inner strength to push beyond what they thought was possible. Santa Cruz County is blessed to have so many dedicated and inspiring coaches that change the lives of our youth from elementary level all the way to high school that we knew we wanted to partner with them in their mission.
Few people realize that despite the affluence of our community, there are many families that struggle to make it financially. When the choice comes to either buy essentials or a $100 pair of shoes for a student athlete, the choice is obvious.
This scenario was brought to our attention when we discovered that one of our local coaches was purchasing track spikes for his team out of his pocket. That’s fine when there were only 10 kids on the team, but when his program had grown to 40, the coaching stipend didn’t—couldn’t, and shouldn’t—cover $3000 worth of spikes. After a few calls and a few favors through our vendor partners, we were able to supply 40 pairs for the team. Things started rolling from there.
Since 2011, we’ve been able to provide over 450 pairs of pairs of track spikes and Cross Country flats for Aptos, Watsonville, Pajaro Valley and North Monterey County high school. Other running shoes have also been donated to Girls on the Run.
Much of our support has come through periodic fundraisers, usually in the form of raffles for some amazing items like Nike Women's Marathon entries, our Shoes for a Year program, and others. This, plus the generous support of our vendor partners including Brooks, New Balance, and Saucony, who are able to offer track and field shoes at an amazing discount, allow us to provide shoes for as many young athletes.
There’s nothing quite as amazing and rewarding than to see the look on the young face of someone who has never been able to have a quality pair of running shoes. His or her confidence level jumps when they feel able to run with reckless abandon. Our goal is that all of these kids can have a life changing experience through running. If we’re able to be a catalyst in that experience, our project will be a huge success.
For more information or if you know of an athlete in need, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.