Cleats for Kids Igniting Love of Sports
Courtesy of Cleats for Kids
Most parents agree sports can be a powerful vehicle to help kids stay active and learn important life skills. But any parent who's ever put their kid on a local sports team understands the expense of equipment can add up fast. That's why Oklahoma parents Stacy and Mark McDaniel started Cleats for Kids in 2011, a non-profit that takes up collections of sports equipment and distributes it to students in need.
"We can empower kids to learn important life lessons through sports as long as we can provide them with the equipment to play," said Taylor Self, communications director for Cleats for Kids.
Self said some sports, like football, can cost up to $400 in equipment just to get on the field. Considering one in four Oklahoma families lives in poverty and how quickly children grow out of equipment, sport involvement can be out of reach financially.
The Cleats for Kids staff and volunteers arrange for donations to be made and for the gently-used equipment to get in the hands of students who might not be able to afford to purchase it themselves. The organization works primarily through word-of-mouth among coaches and school administrators to help people recycle the gear they've outgrown and get the equipment they need.
"We try to have as little red tape as possible," Self said. "People come shop our warehouse full of all types of equipment from baseball gloves to wrestling shoes."
Cleats for Kids has distributed more than 35,000 pieces of sports equipment since it was founded. The organization helped 5,000 kids in 2016 alone. Self said the organization continues to strive to help the most local students possible by making it easy to shop their warehouse of equipment. There’s no proof of income required to receive help from Cleats for Kids.
The non-profit is the beneficiary of the 2017 Redbud Classic, an annual Oklahoma City race with a philanthropic mission. Now celebrating its 35th year, the Redbud Classic has raised more than $525,000 for local
This year, the race supports a special program of Cleats for Kids called Ready to Run. The program focuses primarily on running shoes instead of general sports equipment. Self said the hope is to get running shoes on the feet of all elementary, middle and high school kids in Oklahoma City to help them be more active and take more of an interest in personal fitness.
Anyone who participates in the Redbud Classic this year will be helping to support Cleats for Kids. The event features 10-, 33- and 50-mile bike tours on April 8, along with the one-mile children’s run. On April 9, events will include the 5K and 10K timed runs, the 5K-wheelchair event, the two-mile walk and the baby stroller derby. Registration is open at www.redbud.org.
If you'd like to support Cleats for Kids with a donation or you're interested in shopping their warehouse for equipment, visit www.okc4k.org.