Two Case Western Reserve University baseball players stepped up to the plate to help children at a local elementary school stay active.
When physics department assistant Edith (Betty) Gaffney shared with two of her student workers, senior Jacob Shields and junior Danny Souza, the problem her grandson Logan was facing at school, the two student-athletes wanted to help.
Logan, a third grader at Cleveland’s Sunbeam Elementary School, told Gaffney that the children at his school only had two basketballs to play with at recess—and both were flat.
Upon hearing that the students at Sunbeam argued over the scarce athletic equipment, Shields and Souza instantly wanted to help.
“I just thought, with this Thanksgiving holiday season rolling around, it would be nice to give back to the community—especially to a bunch of kids who don’t have recess equipment,” Shields, who is studying political science and taking a master’s course in bioethics, said. “No kid should have to go outside and not have a basketball to shoot at recess.”
Shields and Souza contacted coaches and the athletic department at Case Western Reserve, asking if they could donate any athletic equipment they were no longer using.
Almost immediately, they heard back from nearly all of them.
“Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to help,” Shields said.
Last week, they visited Sunbeam and donated basketballs, footballs, volleyballs and soccer balls.
“Logan was very excited waking up [that day] knowing that they were bringing the balls,” Gaffney said. “He couldn’t wait to get to school.”
Both Shields and Souza already knew Logan, so helping him made it even more meaningful to arrange the donation.
“He’s going to be the cool kid that reached out and got all his friends a bunch of sports equipment to play with,” Shields said.
Souza, who studies mechanical and aerospace engineering, hopes the donation will help the students make good memories.
“Maybe it’ll lead to them playing sports a little longer down the road,” he said. “I look back with fondness at recess. I didn’t play baseball there, but I sure played everything else.”
Meanwhile, Gaffney is grateful for the effort Shields and Souza put forth to help her grandson and other children at the Sunbeam School.
“Jake and Danny have the spirit that we all should have. I just mentioned the situation to them and they sprung into action. I didn’t have to ask them twice,” she said. “I’m very proud of them for stepping up to the plate when there was a need and networking with their resources to get it done. You can just tell the type of people they will be when they enter the workforce. They are just awesome.”