Ball 4 All Foundation supports equal opportunity to play the game

DAGSBORO – It has a catchy name with a basic mission and goal.

The primary objective of the Ball 4 All Foundation is for all children to have the opportunity to play sports regardless of a family’s financial situation.

“Our main goal is to allow kids to play organized sports, no matter if the family can afford it or not,” said Ball 4 All Foundation co-founder Emily Harne. “Our goal is to make sure that kids have their entry fee paid for if they can’t afford it, or their equipment is covered; the cost of equipment.”

For now, the Ball 4 all Foundation will offer support in southern Delaware.

“Sussex County is our main focus. It is going to stay Sussex County, for right now,” Ms. Harne said.

Formed earlier this spring, the foundation recently received its official 501 (c) 3 non-profit status.

It plans to assist those in need through scholarships.

As examples, scholarships could help cover cost of a child’s soccer camp, soccer season, basketball camp or Little League.

“Or let’s say a kid wants to be a catcher but needs the gear. Or say somebody wants to play basketball, but the school doesn’t have basketball shoes. They can apply for that type of thing. Whatever it is, that would be considered a scholarship for that type of program. We would pay the program directly,” said Ms. Harne. “Those are our two types of scholarships that we want to give out is; the actual fee and then also for equipment.”

Besides obvious physical activity, Ball 4 All Foundation emphasizes that sports also teach children life skills that are vital components of a child’s evolution.

“It’s not just physical exercise, which is a huge benefit, obviously, but in addition to that it teaches responsibility, teamwork, accountability, their work ethic and leadership skills,” said Ms. Harne.

The Ball 4 All Foundation five founders are Sarah Hoban, Dana Rickards, Darin McCann, Erik Schreiber and Ms. Harne.

“All of us talked at one point or another about to wanting to give back to the community … and do something for the youth,” said Ms. Harne. “And all of us have had sports impact us in a big way being who we are. So, it just seemed like that is what we wanted to do: do something for youth sports.”

Another aim of the foundation is to help promote feeder programs in the area.

“When I was younger I know like the varsity team would come down to the elementary schools and put on a two-hour free clinic for the kids about basketball and teach us how to play. Or the hockey team would host a hockey clinic for the younger kids in the school; a Saturday two-hour free clinic to go learn how to play the sport. We just don’t do that anymore,” said Ms. Harne. “So, we want to somehow encourage and help promote all these travel ball teams and these sports teams like the varsity … to offer low-cost or free clinics for the younger kids, to build a feeder program for their own program.  It allows the younger kids to have free or low-cost experiences with sports, and also teaches the kids that are older to give back to the younger kids and set a good example and do good things for them.”

Ball 4 All Foundation is attempting to build relationships with schools, counselors and the coaches of different programs, “because they will know what kids need the help. We’re just trying to prepare to see what needs come in, so we know what kind of money we have to raise,” Ms. Harne said.

The foundation is holding off on major fundraising until September and arrival of the fall sports season.

“We’re only a couple weeks old. We are just now getting our name out. We’ve had small donations come in already from people that want to support the cause and get it off the ground,” said Ms. Harne. “We may do a couple things this summer, like 50-50s, little things to put a little money in the account to get ready for September. We’re hoping to get some applications in September with the start of a new sports season.”

“We are trying to start small because we want to make sure we do it right. We don’t want to get too big too quick,” said Ms. Harne. “We just want to make sure what we do, we do it well.”

Information

For more information, visit the Ball 4 All Foundation Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Ball4AllFoundation/

Plans for a Ball 4 All Foundation website are in the works.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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