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Somers Non-Profit, Local Students 'Play it Forward'

Photo courtesy of Diana Costello
Photo courtesy of Diana Costello

Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino is thanking Somers-based nonprofit Let’s Play It Forward and Westchester school children for their generous donations of sports equipment, school supplies and books for children in need.

"The great response we received from our local schools and residents goes to show how dedicated Westchester residents are to giving back," Astorino said in a statement. 

He teamed up with the National Football League and the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee at the Super Kids-Super Sharing event, which he attended on Thursday in Harlem.

"It’s wonderful to see so many people come together for a worthy cause, and I’m proud that Westchester County was part of making this event such a huge success," he said.

In all, Westchester students and residents donated 6,676 items to the project. As a thank you for participating, Westchester schools will receive several free, one-day passes to Playland.

Represented at the event were Ossining High School, Pocantico Hills School, Tuckahoe High School, Briarcliff High School, Lincoln-Titus Elementary School, Greenburgh Prep, Woodlands High School, and R.J. Baily School.

Let’s Play It Forward worked closely with Westchester County to help promote the event to local schools, in addition to donating a U-Haul truck full of sports equipment and books to the project. The group donated 1,716 items of sports equipment in all, ranging from basketballs and footballs to golf clubs and tennis racquets. 

A group of students from Somers started Let’s Play It Forward in 2012, wanting to put the extra sports equipment in their garages to good use for kids in need. Since then, the response has been overwhelming.

"All our members believe that every child has the right to play a sport and stay active," said John Lombardi, co-founder of Let’s Play It Forward. "We know that this organization will help give children in need the gear to make playing the sports they love possible. We want these kids to have as great of an experience participating in sports as we have had and make a positive impact in their lives."

In addition to delivering and sorting through the donations, participants had the opportunity to enjoy the “Huddle Shuttle,” an interactive football display that gives them a chance to test their own football skills. Students also got to meet NFL players Kevin Boothe of the New York Giants, and Jaiquawn Jarrett of the New York Jets, as well as Flight Crew Cheerleaders.

The NFL added a new feature to this year’s collection with Verizon’s “HopeLine” program to collect used cell phones, which will be donated to domestic violence prevention organizations and local shelters. Verizon also presented a donation of $10,000 to Safe Horizon.

Super Kids-Super Sharing has been implemented in Super Bowl host communities for the past 14 years and has donated books and pieces of sports equipment to children in need. The program also promotes NFL PLAY 60, the league's youth health and wellness campaign, by sharing sports equipment among children in the community.

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