On Tuesday, March 6th, Charles Barrett Elementary School had their fourth annual Adopt-a-Gym event, a soccer ‘KICKoff’. Despite a rain delay, Kevin McGrath breaking his leg less than 48 hours from the original date of the event, and actual freezing rain at the event, loads of Barrett students still came out to support the great cause!
We were lucky enough to have a local TV station, WDVM, come and interview Kevin on what Adopt-a-Gym is and the importance of helping others, no matter who you are.
Kevin McGrath got the incredible opportunity to be the opening keynote for the New Jersey SHAPE conference in Long Branch, New Jersey. What an incredible experience to get to meet and attempt to positively impact an inspired community of physical educators. As a special surprise, McGrath ended the keynote by surprising one very appreciative educator from Trenton, NJ. Patrick Zampella, physical educator at Robbins Elementary received over $2,000 worth of free P.E. equipment thanks to a giving P.E. teacher & school community in Scottsdale, AZ! Janelle Perrin & Cactus Shadows High School gave generously so that a school on the other end of the country can have the P.E. program that they deserve! Be the Difference…One Gym at a Time!
In April of 2019, Charles Barrett ran their 4th annual Adopt-a-Gym event & were lucky enough to introduce their students to two wonderful entities!
Leveling the Playing Field is an incredible 501 (c)(3) that centers their focus on repurposing used athletic equipment to give to students with the desire to play athletics but lack the funds to purchase the equipment needed. Creator Max Levitt came for the event and taught the students how giving can go a long way; he has collected over $1,000,000 of equipment and apparel to be used by those who need it. Incredible!
Alexandria Soccer came in with tons of their coaches and led all the stations at the event. What better way of showing Barrett students one of the great local leagues they can be a part of. Continue to expose them to different options until they find the one they fall in love with. That’s how you create a happy, lifelong healthy learners! A huge thanks to all who contributed to making this an incredibly successful event. Be the difference…one gym at a time!!
After Hurricane Maria, there were many schools left without the basics, even running water and electricity! Thanks to Madison’s Trust Elementary in Ashburn, VA running an Adopt-a-Gym event, William D. Boyce Middle School in San Juan, Puerto Rico had one less thing to worry about! A full array of equipment was sent to them, no questions asked! Here a few students are enjoying their new volleyballs!
On Monday, July 30th, I got the amazing opportunity to be a guest on the Rip City Drive with Travis Demers and Chad Doing on Rip City Radio in Portland, OR. We were able to spend some time talking about the power of philanthropy and how important it is to “be the difference” in whatever way your life gives you the opportunity. It was great to put something that the physical education community is doing for future athletes in the public eye! The more exposure, the better!! Take a listen!
So proud to tell everybody about our first visit to schools that have been chosen as recipient schools for the Adopt-a-Gym program! On May 18th, I was able to visit five schools in Houston, TX that were devastated by Hurricane Harvey. It was incredible to have the chance to meet the P.E. teachers at the following elementary schools: Hilliard (Jay Bennett), Pugh (Hector Ortiz-Marrero), MacGregor (Suzanne Gomez), Mitchell (Terrence Gray) & Anderson (Doreen Howard) . The teachers and their students were incredibly enthusiastic and attentive while receiving lessons with their new equipment and words of motivation about “being the difference” in the world.
I was accompanied by conglomerate of individuals who helped make the donations to these schools possible. Felicia Ceaser-White, Manager of the Health and Physical Education Department at Houston ISD helped coordinate donations, determine need and organize our visit. Jorge Rodriguez, P.E. teacher at Harvard Elementary school in Houston ISD, not only invited me on his Voxer Podcast to spread the word of Adopt-a-Gym, informed Houston schools about their option to receive assistance from the program, but also co-adopted MacGregor Elementary School with Charles Barrett Elementary (my school). Jason Leach, P.E. teacher at Independence Elementary School in Fort Worth, TX coordinated the collection of US Games voucher donations from other schools in his district. Collectively they adopted Pugh Elementary School. Scott Price, Territory Manager for US Games magazine facilitated all discounts and deliveries of equipment making the donations stretch the furthest possible in terms of equipment the schools received.
At Pugh, we were surprised by half the school, who not only gave us a standing ovation but also showed us their dancing skills while they got moving to a dance-along video that they clearly had experience with according to their smooth moves! At MacGregor, I was totally stunned when Mrs. Ceaser-White presented me with a Houston ISD backpack filled with their strongest attempt to make me a Houston sports fan, a Houston Rockets t-shirt, a Houston Astros hat and a $100 bill!!
What an amazing experience!! One thing I couldn’t stop thinking was how resilient these students were! Many of them were displaced from their homes. About nine months later, Hilliard and Anderson Elementary schools were both still at different campuses because of damage done to their original schools. Through all of this, they all seemed eager to learn and fully prepared to face each day with optimism and determination to make that day they best that they possibly could. Hopefully, the equipment these schools received will go a long way towards making a positive impact on the physical and mental health of these students who very much deserve every opportunity that this life has to offer. This is the reason for Adopt-a-Gym!
OPEN Forum Podcast all starts Mike Miller and Mike Martinez invited Kevin on the show to spread the word about Adopt-a-Gym. What a great opportunity to reach the physical education community!! So appreciative! Take a listen to Episode 9 of their awesome series of Physical Education podcasts…then listen to the rest!!
Jason Leach from Independence Elementary School in Fort Worth, TX is the first to come forward and volunteer to donate the vouchers that he earned from US Games for his American Heart Association fundraiser. These vouchers will go directly to helping a school in Houston ISD!
Anyone else who is interested in doing the same, please email me at: AdoptaGymKM@gmail.com
Thank you Jason & other kind teachers just like you!!