What were you doing when you were 14-years-old? How about at age 12?
One Scottsdale resident, Wade Crum, decided to fill a need and founded Pass It On Soccer, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, where the pursuit of collecting and redistributing sports equipment and children’s clothes to those in need is the name of the game.
Pass It On is a nonprofit founded about two years ago, by Mr. Crum who is now 14-years-old.
“So far, we have helped thousands of kids by donating approximately 7,000 pieces of equipment so they can play sports with better comfort and safety, which enhances their self-esteem,” Mr. Crum said.
“Pass It On has grown to include donations to multiple organizations, children volunteers from different schools and soccer teams in the Valley --- and the collection of more than 8,000 donated items from families in Arizona ranging from sports equipment to regular kids clothing.”
Mr. Crum contends a good idea, filling a need and hard work has been the recipe for early success beyond service at Pass It On.
“Pass It On grew through the hard work and determination of the staff of Pass It On and the countless child volunteers who helped us along the way,” he explained.
“It started with small events through local clubs and gradually got bigger until we began to collect at major tournaments in Phoenix. We then set up donation events with various organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs, the North Phoenix Christian Soccer Club, and the La Paz Soccer League in Parker, Arizona. We were able to obtain grants from both the Lerner and Rowe Gives Back Foundation and The Fiesta Bowl Charities, which allowed us to help even more kids in Arizona.”
--- Wade Crum
Mr. Crum outlines proper equipment --- he points out the organization typically collects and redistributes soccer gear --- can make all the difference when a timid player first sets foot on the pitch of play.
“There are many dangers of playing soccer and other sports without the proper equipment,” he said.
“The donations we give to many organizations are gently-used pieces of equipment that many of the children don’t have. This allows the children in their organizations to feel safer when playing, play better and be more comfortable and it makes them want to go out and play more.”
For Mr. Crum, he says, sports is a way for everyone to feel a sense of belonging --- and the right equipment is the first step toward that feeling of confidence.
“Sports are a way that kids can learn both the importance of teamwork and how to work well with others to accomplish goals. They can also learn other values such as strategy, loyalty, training, putting in hard work, passion, and good communication,” he said.
“These strategies and values can be used throughout the rest of their lives in school, their jobs, and many other places when working with others and by themselves.”
Kristina Chumpol, director of communications and community relations at Fiesta Bowl Charities, contends Mr. Crum is making a real difference --- and to be doing so early in life is a remarkable thing.
“Pass it On aligns with Fiesta Bowl Charities’ commitment to youth and sports in our community,” she said. “What is so special about this organization is that it all started with a young person’s vision and decision to act on it! Wade Crum saw a need and decided to take action, and we admire his leadership. What an excellent role model for the young people of this community to show them that no matter your age, your voice matters and can have a tremendous impact.”
To help Mr. Crum, and the Pass It On effort, Fiesta Bowl Charities provided the 501(c)3 nonprofit a $25,000 grant to widen the reach of redistribution efforts and improving the quality of donated items.
“Pass It On is beginning to buy new soccer equipment such as balls, jerseys, cleats, shinguards, socks, and water bottles for organizations with children in need,” Mr. Crum said of where dollars go.
“We also use the money for permanent donation bins in soccer stores and soccer fields that are located around the valley, as well as to pay for equipment needed at our collection and donation events such as chairs, tables bins, and shade tents.”
Ms. Chumpol agrees there is a need for the proper equipment on the fields of play at every corner of the Valley of the Sun.
“Having the right type of equipment is really important and so is ensuring the right fit to make sure the players can play their best,” she pointed out. “With the rising cost to participate in organized sports, keeping up with the cost of equipment can be difficult for families. That’s why it’s so great to see organizations like Pass It On step up in that area and help families make team sports more realistic for children.”
--- Kristina Chumpol
Sports in all of its forms can be a great equalizer for children, Ms. Chumpol says.
“Sports can absolutely change the trajectory of one’s life. While not every kid is going to be the next LeBron James or Lionel Messi, the skills that they learn from participating in sports influences so many areas of their life,” she explained.
“Socially, sports are a great way for kids to engage with other kids their age that they might not otherwise interact with. Also, learning how to work as a team is such an important skill as they transition into teenagers and adults in the workforce, as is personal accountability. Sports have a unique way of bringing the necessary skills in life to kids in a way that they can hear it, learn it and do it.”
Mr. Crum says he lives by a can’t-fail attitude.
“Children can make a difference and can help other children, as long as they believe in what they do and are willing to work hard at it. I learned not to take no for an answer and to find a way to reach my goals with Pass It On by finding another route if I hit a roadblock,” he said.
“In doing so, I showed many other kids that they can do it too. I rely on many child volunteers at tournaments to hand out 2,000 flyers to adults on the sidelines and informing them about Pass It On’s collection. This work makes other children become more confident and empowered in the process.”
Go to passitonsoccer.net.