Started in 2012 by 12-year old Emily Eisner, Play It Forward combines her passion for sports with a desire to help her community all the while encouraging her peers to be active and get involved. The heart and dedication to the mission of Play It Forward led her to establish a 501(c)(3) in early 2013, which has allowed for the depth of the organization to grow.
The growth and evolution of Play It Forward has exceeded even Emily’s original intention. The first year, her goal was to find a way to supply equipment to one school. She collected new and gently used sporting equipment from her friends, family, schoolmates and teammates. She also organized a relay race at her school’s annual open house, attended by thousands of families and prospective students, to raise awareness for the importance of fitness and giving kids the opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle from an early age. The equipment collection was so successful that she delivered a whole truckload of equipment to the school. She didn’t expect what she had done would be a big deal, but when she arrived at the school the entire student body was chanting her name and “Play It Forward.” Kids were running up to Emily, hugging her, crying and thanking her for what she had done. The joy and excitement on those kids’ faces was infectious from what seemed like a very simple action, giving them balls to play with.
Since it’s original inception, Play It Forward has grown and is now working hands on with school and physical education departments to ensure that every gift of equipment directly responds to a schools specific needs. For that reason, donations and corporate sponsorships have proven to be the best way to support the organization because they allow Play It Forward the freedom to fulfill the wish lists of the schools they support.
To support the vision of a youth led organization, Play It Forward has an incredible collective of seasoned Directors and Advisors, with a variety of professional expertise, that provide an underlying level of experience and support to ensure the organization thrives.
The Play It Forward Youth Advisory Board (ages 7-18 years of age) underscores the key value of peer-to-peer support, empowering the students to follow their passions and recognizing the kids helping kids impact everyone around them.. The Youth Advisory Board not only helps set the organization’s short and long term goals, but they are also key implementers of programmatic marketing, promotion and fundraising efforts.
Four times a year, the group meets to strategize potential fundraisers within our various communities, creates and updates ongoing plan for social media marketing and promotion as well as thinking of new ways to self-advocate in the “adult world” for ways to expand the reach of Play it Forward.
The biggest surprise for the entire Youth Advisory Board has been the incredible satisfaction that comes from supporting other kids. Because these underserved communities have limited to no access to physical education programs or the funds to purchase equipment, the impact on both the kids administering the program and those receiving support has been very inspiring to all involved.
By expanding the program to meet the needs of various communities, teach kids about being active, remind everyone that not all schools have the great athletic program and equipment that my school does, and give something to underserved elementary schools that they can definitely use.
To form a Youth Advisory Committee in your community fill out the Kids Helping Kids Volunteer Board.
Funding / Equipment
Commitment / School Participation