A Pacific Beach Middle School student has collected sports equipment that she has donated to benefit local foster-care families.
As part of a school community service project, Mary Reger and her friend, Vanessa Gardner, developed a Powerpoint presentation to solicit donations of used and unused sports equipment. They then contacted various agencies to garner their support, as well as setting up a collection site.
“I feel like kids in foster care don’t get enough appreciation, or do as many fun activities as other kids do,” said Mary, discussing the motivation behind her sports-equipment drive. “We got a whole bunch of baseball bats, new soccer balls and basketballs, and some other equipment that other people have used, but not really that much.
“Then we got out a Google form to all my eighth-grade friends in my classes that people filled out and signed. Then I set up a collection site in front of my house, and all the neighbors who wanted to donate things.”
“Mary was an absolute joy and her and Vanessa’s hard work was on display with all of the items they collected,” said Missy Bell, church and community engagement associate with the San Diego chapter of Olive Crest, a leader in the prevention and treatment of child abuse, serving nearly 5,300 children and families throughout the Pacific Northwest. “These items will encourage the foster kids and foster families that Olive Crest serves.”
Mary dropped off donated sports items on March 26 at Olive Crest, noting her offering was well received. “They were super appreciative and very forthcoming and very nice about us bringing things,” she said adding, “We’re hoping to promote money donations and get the word out to help support foster children and the families that house them. We love children, and we want to help children have all the love and support they can get.”
Bell said Mary approached their foster organization telling them about her school project.
“She shared that she had collected sports equipment and knick-knacks for foster kids and asked if we would accept them,” Missy said, adding she was impressed that someone so young would be so socially conscious. “Not many eighth-graders are that interested in foster care,” she pointed out adding, “We are dependent on the goodness and kindness of our community partners.”
Bell said Olive Care typically receives donated items for foster children and their families especially around the holidays, baskets around Easter, and donated items for Christmas. “We have a book distribution that helps at-risk kids with books too,” said Bell.
On its website, olivecrest.org, it is noted that, Since 1973, the organization has transformed the lives of over 70,000 abused, neglected, and at-risk children and their families.
“We work tirelessly to meet the individual needs of kids in crisis by providing safe homes, counseling, and education for both youth and parents,” states the website. “Our many innovative programs reflect our conviction that strengthening the family is one of the most powerful ways to help heal children. With unwavering compassion, the Olive Crest family maintains a lifelong commitment to the youth and families we serve even after they have graduated from our programs.”
Olive Crest serves nearly 3,000 children and families each day throughout California, Nevada, and the Pacific Northwest. For information, call 800.550.CHILD or visit olivecrest.org.