Published April 28, 2016
ATLANTA—Fifth-grade students Will Orman and Jackson Seitz love playing sports at Our Lady of the Assumption School and Murphey Candler Elementary School. In celebration of Advent, they created a service project idea called “Play It Forward,” a sporting goods drive to benefit needy kids in communities where athletic programs have been curtailed or eliminated due to a lack of equipment.
Susan Mistretta of Marist School connected Will and Jackson with Kris Watkins, eighth-grade teacher at Betsy Layne Elementary School in Floyd County, Kentucky. Betsy Layne Elementary is a school with 700 students in Pre-K through eighth grade. As a result of funding cuts, Betsy Layne and other schools in their area are in need of sporting goods to support physical education and athletic programs.
With support from OLA Principal Lisa Cordell, OLA teacher Jennifer West, and the Murphey Candler baseball community, Will and Jackson set up donation bins to collect gently used sports gear. The response was so large that “Play It Forward” was extended through the Lenten season as the boys collected hundreds of sporting goods items, including 32 racquets, 90 bats, 36 helmets, 70 pairs of cleats, 72 basketballs, four sets of golf clubs, and even a parachute and a soccer goal.
Following Holy Week, Will and Jackson and their mothers drove to Betsy Layne and presented Principal John Kidd, Watkins, and the eighth-grade class with a trailer full of needed athletic gear. Kidd acknowledged that the gear would benefit Betsy Layne and the entire community as the schools in the system share equipment and resources where they are needed most.
The boys have big ideas for their next project.