Get To Know Us
Here at G.E.A.R. we seek to reduce economic barriers such as Pay-to-play fees, athletic department financial constraints, and insufficient athletic equipment that hinder participation in youth organized athletics.
Public school budget reductions paired with increased operating expenses have resulted in limited funding available for many public school athletic departments. Many public schools have resorted to charging students Pay-to-Play fees. G.E.A.R. wants to empower youth with the multifaceted benefits of organized athletics that can develop a foundation for winning in life.
In collaboration with community organizations, corporations, local businesses, professional athletes, and private investors; G.E.A.R. is able to fundraise the necessary support capital. We work hard to identify partner athletic departments (“AD”) that are in need, understand their needs, and define a support plan for them. We then use the capitol raised to procure and distribute the athletic equipment.
At G.E.A.R. we also develop community-based events, such as athletic camps and trainings to increase and support participation. Our goal is to increase participation in youth sports by providing resources and more opportunities.
To empower our communities and their youth by providing the opportunity to be positively impacted by athletics.
From a foundation of participation in athletics the youth are set up for more success in life.
G.E.A.R. is focused on equality, service, and strengthening community relationships through participation in athletics.
A Letter From Our Founder
As a young man growing up, athletics was everything to me. Athletics taught me how to work with others. I learned how to not only set goals, but how to work hard to achieve them. I learned how to set goals and how to work hard to achieve them. I discovered that adversity is not a roadblock; it is a hurdle that I could and still can overcome. My coaches turned into mentors, somebody I could rely on when things were tough in my life. Athletics gave me a heightened sense of pride for my school, my community, and confidence in my ability to succeed. However, when I was young, I was unaware that these lessons were a privilege. Growing up in an upper-middle class family, there was never concern over the cost to play. I knew that regardless of a growth spurt, torn laces, or even just wanting a new color – my parents would be able afford it. What I didn’t understand was that many kids were not as fortunate.
When I was one of the fortunate few to advance to play football for the University of Michigan, athletics took another turn for me. Dealing with academics at a top tier school, rigorous training/practice schedule, all while making sure I spent time with my mom. Every time I walked into the football building, all my worries and concerns were left outside. For the next few hours, the weight of the world was off of my shoulders and I could escape into a peaceful bubble of athletics. I took the next step to the NFL, athletics gave its final lesson. Adversity took its toll when injuries and empty promises from teams ended a lifelong dream. But luckily athletics taught me everything I needed to take that next step in my life.
I began working as an assistant Athletic Director at Detroit Catholic Central High School. Catholic Central is one of the top athletic/academic schools in the country. I saw other teams show up with penny’s as uniforms and without balls to warm up with. This realization culminated when I noticed a player crying on the bench before a game because his laces broke. There were so many knots holding his broken laces together that he couldn’t tie another one. Heart broken by this, I took off my shoe laces and gave them to him so he could play. I have never seen someone so excited for something that we all take for granted. After this experience, I started looking into the issue.
I quickly learned that with billions of dollars in government budget cuts to public schools, the athletic department is often the first to suffer. To keep sports alive, departments were forced to implement “Pay-To-Play”. The average fee, per student, per sport is just under $300; but upwards to 1,200 per sport. There are some states that have banned the “Pay-to-Play” model, but it puts these schools in higher jeopardy to close down their departments as a whole. These fee’s keep ¼ students from being able to participate in sports. More than ever, athletics in the inner city is a necessity. With all the benefits that athletics offer, these kids need the foundation athletics can provide to set them up for the next part of their lives.
G.E.A.R. was formed to solve this crisis. We donate equipment and apparel to inner city schools to help stabilize their athletic department. We are fueled by a mission to create an environment in which every student can benefit from athletics. We organize camps and events to help instill the values that athletics provide to the youth and their communities. G.E.A.R. believes that the future depends on the success of our youth, and intend to provide every kid the opportunity to grow through sports. In the following pages we share insights on how the organization achieves our mission. I look forward to exploring the possibilities of having you and your community become part of our team.