Cleats For Kids Levels The Playing Field For Athletes
As parents of athletes, Stacy McDaniel and her husband quickly learned clothing comes and goes.
"Kids outgrow their clothes so quickly and their shoes," Stacy said. "And they're virtually brand new so many times."
The same is true for sports equipment. The McDaniels realized some athletes they're children were playing against didn't have proper sports equipment so they pledged to level the playing field. Their non-profit, Oklahoma Cleats For Kids, gives athletes in need free access to all kinds of gear.
"Allow people who had stuff to give it to kids who need it," Stacy said.
Equipment drives, a donation site, and retailers donating overstock keep the shelves packed. You'll find everything from baseball bats to ballet shoes.
"I had 32 girls come out for softball this year and we picked up about 10 gloves from here because the girls didn't have gloves," said Cindy George, the coach for the girls softball team at NW Classen High School.
Stacy stresses the fact that Cleats For Kids is "to kids, by kids, and for kids." Young athletes are encouraged to volunteer by stocking shelves, cleaning equipment, and helping other athletes find what they need.
"I volunteer here because it builds character and it not only helps us, it helps everybody," said Shaunte Harrison, a sophomore at NW Classen.
Shaunte and her teammates have learned a valuable lesson.
"The kids that are less fortunate, for whatever reason, we can come here, they have a wide variety and we can choose whatever we want and feel confident that we can do good in the game with it," she said.
"Everything is great about it because we all get stuff from it," said Esveide Martinez, a senior at NW Classen.
Cleats For Kids also provides equipment for the Police Athletic League and the Boys & Girls Club. The name of the game is fun.
Shaunte, Esveide, and Ashley Easlon were challenged to put on five pieces of equipment and gather for a photo. The result is a great picture showing the wide range of equipment available for athletes of all shapes and sizes.
Because the difference between winning and losing should depend on the quality of the player not the quality of the cleats.
"I am a true believer that one kid deserves the same as the other kid and this place helps provide that," said Coach George.