Story by Matthew Tsai
A typical family can spend up to $500 a week for a sports camp; with California’s poverty rate at 20%, few parents are able to fork over the money for their children to participate in the activities they love. Four juniors, Preston Sharkey, Evan Kowal, Tianhao Wei, and David Newhall, have realized this issue and decided to take charge in the South Pasadena community with a new club, Sports for Society.
Sports for Society aims to create an enjoyable athletic environment — an advantage many affluents take for granted— for underprivileged kids. The club will partner with multiple local organizations, including Families Forward Learning Center (FFLC) and Occidental Camps and Clinics, to acquire pools and gyms as a base location for hosting lessons. The clinics will primarily focus on soccer to basketball to swimming, as those are the sports in which the juniors are proficient.
The officers are determined to found a club that commits to and executes their mission statement. Each upperclassmen is a seasoned athlete and volunteer, with experiences in a wide range of activities. Sharkey has dedicated his time to the South Pasadena Little League Challenger League as a baseball coach for over two years. Kowal is a teenage leader at FFLC, a social services organization, along with Wei, who is a regular volunteer. Newhall has been a camp counselor at Occidental Camps and Clinics tennis and basketball camps for three years. Although they have the tools to organize and hold clinics, the four acknowledge that they will need additional help.
“We are looking for [people] that are eager to help younger kids that also have a background in sports,” Newhall said. “We want people that enjoy helping others and have past experiences with young kids.”
Arranging lessons will be a challenge, requiring deep commitment and strong organization. The four juniors understand the difficulty of delivering upon their word, but are driven to allow children to experience enjoyment and competitiveness at minimal expense.