Baseball and softball equipment being collected to give to African children
It started in a storage facility for the P.E. department at Skyview High School in Vancouver.
It will end with a delivery to Africa.
In between, Skyview students came up with an idea, researched their options, executed a plan, and have become an inspiration for stepping up and lending a hand.
“I see volunteerism as a pathway to becoming a good global citizen,” said sophomore Naomi Green, president of Gear for the Globe, an organization that collects used or new baseball and softball equipment to give to communities in Africa.
“We are Americans. Americans helping Americans, Americans helping other countries,” Green said.
“We’ve only been doing this for a short amount of time, and we’ve raised so much equipment,” added Rylynn Perdue, a junior and the vice president. “It’s insane.”
At first, they thought maybe they would send a few boxes. But at a recent pick-up at one location, they filled three pick-up trucks with equipment. In all, Gear for the Globe is close to having 600 items. And they will keep collecting until April 22 before making the shipment.
Bats. Gloves. Helmets. Batting gloves. Cleats. Catcher’s gear. Even bases. Yes, bases have been donated.
Green, the reigning Miss Clark County’s Outstanding Teen, recalled the first people to donate to the cause. She was expecting a baseball. Or maybe a bat.
“They were bringing out boxes of things. ‘Wait, this could actually be big,’” Green said.
“Way more than expected,” added junior Miriam Kun, in charge of communications for Gear for the Globe.
This global project started in storage cages. The students are teacher’s aides to Mindy Cleeland, on staff at Skyview. They were tasked with taking inventory. Cleeland said there were things in there from the early years of the high school, which opened in 1997.
“We can do something with this stuff,” Perdue noted as she and her friends noticed the excess equipment. The gear was old, but still in working condition.
The students found Angels at Bat, an organization based in Green Bay, Wisc., that has the goal of bringing baseball to Africa.
The Skyview students came up with Gear for the Globe name and became affiliated with Angels at Bat. (Alina Zagariya, who is studying off campus this semester as part of the Running Start program, also helped create the organization.) All equipment donated to Gear for the Globe will be sent to Angels, and that group will deliver it to Africa. The students also said it is their hope to one day go to Africa with Angels at Bat to help deliver the gear in person.
“Being around the baseball and softball community, you know how expensive the equipment gets, and how expensive playing the sport is,” Green said.
“I’ve grown up in a baseball and softball household,” Perdue said. “I started playing when I was 5. I don’t play now, but my (younger) sister (Reese) does. I’ve grown a love of playing and watching.”
Kun was a student manager for the baseball team when she was a freshman and sophomore. She understands the level of commitment the athletes have for the game.
“They are really passionate about the sport,” she said. “It’s very nice to see that you can spread it to other places. I’m excited to see where it can go, and how it can bring people together.”
Green has a painful memory of her playing days.
“I played softball for a couple of years. One day, I got hit in the face by a softball and I never went back. It busted my lip. I was crying. It was terrible,” she said. “But I don’t have a grudge, obviously. I do have a love for sports.”
As Miss Clark County’s Outstanding Teen, she also has a passion for helping others.
“My social impact initiative is community service and promoting volunteerism throughout Clark County,” Green said.
The students learned how to take initiative, as well.
“Honestly, this whole thing just means everything to us,” Perdue said. “We’ve strived and worked so hard to get to where we are. It makes me so happy. I would have never thought that I would be sitting here, raising and collecting baseball equipment to send to children in Africa. It’s amazing to think about.”
Green noted how fast she is now at composing emails, asking people to help. Gear for the Globe reached out to Vancouver Girls Softball Association, and VSGA came up clutch. Gear for the Globe picked up three truck-loads of equipment.
The students also got in touch with Hazel Dell Little League. Gear for the Globe has a drop-off bin there for equipment.
(For other ways to donate, send a direct message Gear for the Globe on Facebook.)
“This organization means so much to me,” Green said. “‘These 16-year-old-girls are trying to change the world.’ Yeah. We’re doing a really good thing in our community, and that’s what I advocate for, people doing good things in their community.”
Note: Follow Gear for the Globe on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Gearfortheglobe
And on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gearfortheglobe/?hl=en