by Sheldon Oleksyn

In almost every grant and funding application submitted, we state Sport Central is a “volunteer-driven organization” and a “collection of like minded individuals”. This description goes back 30 years to the very beginning. It’s a good description of a team of thousands who have served on the Board, worked as staff, helped in the warehouses, drove the van, answered phones, parked cars, outfitted kids, did data entry, sat on special committees, organized the golf tournament, donated money and/or equipment, worked Casinos and sold 50/50 tickets. We have a Village of people all pitching in to raise thousands of children with the opportunity to play sports. Our little village at Sport Central has given a “hand-up” to a city of over 180,000 kids since 1991, all outfitted in gear for over 15 different sports. Remarkable!

Something I notice every day I arrive at Sport Central is the unique and joyful atmosphere that exists here. When people come together in a spirit of generosity and service to others in need, there is a distinct air of joyful purpose that fills the place and is so distinct from places where people are paid to show up. It is a bonus I receive from the volunteers who come in on their day of the week to assist kids in need. For that I am grateful.  

This year’s Volunteer Week theme celebrates how volunteering is empathy put into action. I also believe volunteerism is gratitude being shared with others. I have never met a happy person who is not grateful. I bet this is another reason why Sport Central is a fun place to be. It’s two warehouses filled with grateful people giving back and sharing the joy.  

Thank you to our 80+ current volunteers, and a salute to all those who came before us, all contributing to this legacy of sport by equipping kids in need for 30 years!