Women in Fitness asks students for sports equipment donations


Ray Zhang

Women in Fitness works with Leveling the Playing Field to collect sports equipment in collection bins in the Auditorium Lobby. After their founding this year, WoFit decided to organize a donation program to help underprivileged students gain access to sports equipment. “We’ll match equipment up to students or organizations that need equipment to get those kids out playing sports,” Junior Riley Cooper said.

Ray Zhang, Staff Writer

Women in Fitness (WoFit) is partnering with the charity Level the Playing Field (LPF) to collect and distribute sports equipment to underprivileged students in the NoVA area. WoFit accepted donations Jan. 12 through Feb. 4 in bins around the school. 

Initially, WoFit recognized that many underprivileged students lacked adequate equipment to excel in various sports.

“I personally play softball and it’s nearly impossible to play if you don’t have a glove, bat, and helmet, because of safety concerns,” junior and WoFit member Riley Cooper said.

However, playing sports is vital in providing students with numerous benefits that they may not be able to find otherwise. 

“Students are not only able to stay in shape, but they meet new friends, grow more confident, and create positive habits,” Daniel Griffin, LPF program director for Washington, said. 

To help mitigate this equipment problem and help students receive the benefits of sports, WoFit is turning to Jefferson students for help. 

“Jefferson students can help by donating and telling their friends and family about it so they can donate too,” Cooper said. 

WoFit chose to partner with non-profit charity LPF due to their ability to help with distribution. 

“LPF has a lot of centers on the Maryland side, but they’re trying to specifically get more outreach into the DC metropolitan areas,” Cooper said. “ As a result, they will take over the distribution of equipment for underprivileged kids in the the DC and NoVA area.”

In the past, LPF has experienced success in helping underprivileged students. 

“I have been able to work with coaches and schools to get hundreds and thousands of kids access to sports equipment,” Griffin said. “We have three to four, on average, [employees] in the warehouse collecting equipment.”

LPF has also expressed positive feedback about this donation program, which is the first WoFit has created. 

“It’s great to see students taking initiative, not only to complete service opportunities, but service opportunities they’re passionate about,” Griffin said.

WoFit still encountered many challenges while setting up this donation program. 

“Some of the challenges that were confusing were that I didn’t exactly know how to start,” Cooper said. “It was concerning whether I was going to get people to donate and how I’m going to make sure that there’s actually stuff [equipment] there.”

Nonetheless, WoFit was able to overcome these challenges by increasing advertisement efforts to athletes. 

“It ended up being totally fine because I was able to go through the Ion announcements, I did Facebook posts, and talked to my friends,” Cooper said. “I realized that TJ may not have people that played a variety of sports that they may not play anymore, so I had to advertise within the basketball group chat, WoFit, and the softball team.”

Overall, this donation encompasses more than just providing students with chances to experience different sports, but also allows them to build lifelong relationships. 

“The goal is for them [the students] to reap both the mental and physical benefits of playing sports,” Griffin said. “We hope that in turn, with their success, whether that’s through sports or using sports to go to school, that they can then go and give back to their communities.”