GRAPEVINE, Texas – Sophomore Kyle Dendy wanted a way to give back to the community using sports, so he and freshman Jack Barnhart started a chapter of Play it Forward at Grapevine Faith this summer. Play it Forward is an organization that collects gently used sporting goods and gives them to children in the community who otherwise might not have any.
“Any school around the area can start a chapter,” Dendy said. “With your chapter, you have your own donation drives and you collect the sporting goods. You actually get to take it with [Play it Forward] and go to the events and play with the kids.”
On Saturday, July 27, the Grapevine Faith chapter of Play it Forward held its first event in cooperation with other local chapters. Dendy, Barnhart, and a few of their friends donated items to the Wesley Rankin Community Center and distributed them to the children there. “We were there for about four hours and just had a good time hanging out with the kids,” Dendy said.
As an added bonus, Play it Forward is sponsored by the Pro Players’ Foundation and members sometimes attend the events as well. “At this last community center we went to, an ex-Dallas Mavericks player came out, and right now he works for ESPN as an analyst, so that was really cool, and all the kids thought that was really fun,” Dendy said.
Play it Forward was started by TCU baseball player Garrett Grimm. “He was injured at the time and just wanted a way to give back to the community. He knew he loved sports, so Play it Forward was a way to do that,” Dendy said.
The Barnharts knew the Grimms, and Mrs. Barnhart brought the idea to the Dendys. Dendy said, “We met with Garrett Grimm’s mom, and she told us what we needed to do and helped us get our own chapter going.” Dendy and Barnhart met with Coach Hogan a few times to plan out the specifics and to design T-shirts and a banner, but Dendy said the process was fairly easy.
Play it Forward allows students to earn community service hours when they deliver the donations and play with the kids. Dendy encouraged other Faith students to get involved as well. “It’s really not just the leaders who are running it; it’s really the whole community acting together.”
To see this article as it was originally printed in the Grapevine Faith RAWR, click here.