By Shanice Lo, MD Middle School Program Coordinator
Photos Courtesy of AALEAD Staff
AALEAD youth got their first hands-on field trip on how to become a Change Maker (this year’s MD theme – read our post here on MD’s theme for a refresher)! This time AALEAD Change Makers focus on their HANDS, taking action and making a difference through the community service event, National Make a Difference Day.
On October 22nd, 33 AALEAD youth joined Leveling the Playing Field (LPF), a local community organization that supports underserved children’s access and opportunity to enjoy the pleasures of athletic involvement in Montgomery County.
Max Levitt, the LPF founder, saw a huge gap between the supply and demand for sports equipment during his time in both college and youth athletics. He saw that colleges threw out equipment at the end of each school year to make way for new equipment provided by Nike, Under Armor, etc. Because he wanted to make a difference in the community, he started LPF during his senior year of college from his parent’s basement before finally relocating the current 4,000 square foot warehouse space in Silver Spring in 2015. Since 2011, LPF has helped more than 300 programs and donated $1.6 million worth of sports equipment. LPF does their work by donating used and excess sporting equipment to programs and schools serving low-income communities. Their donations allow programs to allocate funds saved by lowering registration fees, expanding their scholarship programs, enhancing their existing athletic programs, and developing new ones.
On Make a Difference Day, AALEAD youth stored and organized all of the sporting equipment donations in LPF warehouse, such as counting the numbers of badminton racket, baseballs, basketball, etc. After 2 hours of community service, youth had a chance to share what they learned from the volunteering experience in different stations and talked about why the community service was important with their peers. They also made a poster to talk about the wellness benefits they contributed to by supporting people gaining access to sporting equipment and sports. So many of them showed interested to coming back again next year to do their part as change makers and make a difference in the community!
We hope that more people will learn about and join in our annual Make a Different Day next year. Let’s come together to improve the lives of others! Let’s seek to make change happen!