By Heather Killen
A former Melvern Square basketball player has started a sports non-profit to help local kids play more and fundraise less.
Jessica (Connell) Bain says she remembers the victories and defeats of chocolate bar fundraisers on cold days and dreams of new uniforms. It’s those days, combined with seeing kids who are not so lucky, that inspires her to establish a sports fund now so more kids can play.
Support Valley Sports is an Annapolis Valley not-for-profit that aims to make sports fundraising easier for everyone. She says the idea is to assist young athletes raise funds while providing local businesses an easier way to help.
“I know local businesses get a stack of requests from sports teams and athletes,” she says. “And the kids can only sell so many chocolate bars. This way, when businesses help they get the recognition they deserve.”
The charity works through membership cards that are given to athletes’ friends and family. The cards have reference numbers assigned to each team or athlete. Whenever someone wants to support the team, he or she shops at a member business and a percentage of the sale goes to Support Valley Sports who in turn gives the donation to the team or athlete.
“I keep thinking back to all those fundraisers, the yard sales in the pouring rain and the cold days when no one was buying chocolate bars,” she said. “I also remember the excitement of finally getting new uniforms. There are so many kids out there that can use some help.”
At the time of a sale, cashiers print out an extra receipt and write down the athlete’s reference number. At the end of each month, receipts are tallied and a cheque is sent to Support Valley Sports, who disburse the money to the athletes and teams.
She added that she hopes to eventually use a scanning system that will allow cashiers to scan a code rather than print out an extra receipt, making it even easier to help.
Mother of Two
Bain, who is now a mother of two, works with troubled youth and says she knows many good kids who’ve made one poor choice and ended up paying a stiff price. The best way to help young people is to give them a chance.
“Kids need mentorship and to be steered in the right direction,” she said. “When I played sports I made connections to team members and coaches that I still have.”
She added that many of the troubled kids she sees could redirect their energy into becoming fine athletes if they were given a chance. Most of the time it comes down to family finances, she says.
“Some parents just write the cheque and then forget about it,” she said. “Others can’t afford to do this. When you see some of these kids on the basketball court, they give it everything they have. It’s wonderful to see.”
For more information visit http://www.supportvalleysports.ca