The youth of Leaside have a long history of charitable work, kindness and generosity. Kids have held lemonade sales to raise money for cancer, diabetes and ALS research. They’ve raised funds for Sunnybrook, Sick Kids and Holland Bloorview hospitals. They’ve organized and run food drives, participated in walks and runs to raise money for a wide variety of causes. And they’ve gathered and distributed running shoes for kids in underserved communities in order to ensure all children have the chance to participate in athletic activities.
It was this last activity that had 6-year-old Liam Jackson asking questions.
After seeing the shoe collection box on a neighbour’s porch, Liam had a discussion with his parents Zhenni and Shaun about kids who don’t have the necessary equipment to participate in sports.
Then Liam asked if he could collect sports equipment so that all kids could play.
And thus began Liam’s Sports Equipment Bank.
As a kid who plays hockey, baseball, tennis, and golf and practises jiu-jitsu (his favourite activity), Liam was saddened “because there are kids that want to play sports like me and can’t.”
At the end of August of this year, the Grade 2 student set up bins at East York Baseball Camp and within days had collected baseball bats, baseball gloves and baseball bases. The equipment was dropped at Eagle Beaver Sports, which helps local charities and shelters in Toronto, Cuba and Africa.
Bins were next set up at the Moore Park Tennis Club, and tennis, soccer and basketballs, baseball gloves, racquets and skates were collected.
With even more donations in hand, Liam and his mom brought equipment to the Christie Refugee Welcome Centre for their after-school sports programming.
On October 15th, Liam held a “Sports Equipment Drive & Raffle Extravaganza” at Birchmount Stadium.
His own school collected multiple bins of equipment, and plans are afoot for more collection bins to be set up at other schools and community facilities.
Liam would like to provide sports equipment to schools in underserved neighbourhoods, community centres and other not-for-profit organizations working with newcomers and refugees.
Featured on Global News’ “Making a Difference” segment, Liam’s Sports Equipment Bank is quickly garnering a lot of support.
According to mom Zhenni, Liam “has a heart as big as his dreams.” And his dreams are certainly making a difference in the lives of kids who might not otherwise have a chance to play.
If you would like to have a collection bin set up in your school, place of work, etc., or would like to donate equipment or volunteer with Liam’s Sports Equipment Bank, visit www.liamssportsequipmentbank.org.