Meet Gretchen Morgan, a big supporter of Play It Forward Southlake which was founded by her brother Mack Morgan along with two other former Southlake Carroll High School athletes, Preston LeJeune and Kenny Hill. The nonprofit community service program collects gently used athletic equipment and refurbishes the goods before distributing the equipment to children who can't afford to buy sports gear. The group is a branch of Play It Forward USA founded in Keller and supported in partnership by The Pro Players Foundation. We wanted to know more about Play It Forward Southlake and Morgan was kind enough to answer a few questions:
Dawn Tongish: Please begin by telling us about Play It Forward Sports Southlake.
Gretchen Morgan: Play it Forward Southlake is a student athlete run organization that collects new and gently used sports equipment and gets it to ‘needy’ athletes in our area, country, and around the world.
DT: How did you become involved with Play It Forward Sports Southlake, and why are you so passionate about the work being done with the charity group?
GM: Our group was started by my brother Mack Morgan in his freshmen year of high school at Carroll in 2009 along with his friends Kenny Hill and Preston LeJeune. I’m passionate because I realize how fortunate I am with regards to having all of my ‘sports’ equipment needs met easily, and I realize there are lots of kids out there that can’t play the sport they love because their family can’t afford it. I enjoy helping kids in need, and my parents raised me to try and be kind and look out for those in need. A lot of times kids want to play sports, but can't because it is expensive to "gear up". Does this sort of charity help them to be involved? - Oh yes, that’s our mission statement, “Because no child should go without so that they can play the sport they love” - We realize that sports does a huge amount of confidence building, leadership skills, teamwork skills and much more.
DT: Do you think seeing young people like yourself and athletes like Kenny Hill involved in charity work, inspires other young people to give of their time to nonprofit work?
GM: Yes, It definitely helps - Kenny wears his Play it Forward Southlake bracelet to this day on the football field and off the field! He always has and is a huge ‘active’ member today! His little brother Marcus is a member of our chapter now too! It’s great publicity for us, of what we do and helps us find beneficiaries and kids in need.
DT: It can be difficult for any nonprofit to pay the bills. How do you stay afloat?
GM: We don’t have much to pay for, and Pro Players Foundation looks out for us, with our needs, and our parents have ‘donated’ lots of money and stuff too to keep us running, but a lot of businesses help our cause, too!
DT: How can the people of North Texas and beyond help meet your needs for 2014? What are your biggest needs?
GM: We always need equipment, any type of balls work well, kids can always do something with a ball, some organizations need big ticket items, like soccer goals, basketball goals etc. Cash donations are always nice too, so we can buy NEW equipment too!
DT: What is the most memorable moment in your experiences at Play It Forward Sports Southlake?
GM: Donating to the kids in Dallas last summer, the Pro Players Foundation and the Dallas Mavericks renovated a community/center gym in East Dallas, and we all went and delivered, got to feed the kids lunch and got to meet and play with the kids, along with the Dallas Mav Maniacs, that was fun! I also loved donated and playing with the kids of the Miracle League in Arlington back in 2010, when their facility had a fire, we collected loads of ‘baseball’ equipment and then got to go down to Arlington to be ‘buddies’ with the players! It was awesome!
If you'd like to nominate a local resident for a BubbleLife community profile, contact Dawn Tongish at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Twitter at @DawnTongish.