Our goal is to provide high-quality physical education equipment to schools that don’t have access to them. Every child should have access to a ball, hula hoop or jump rope to play with, especially at school. Not only are sports a fun and healthy outlet, but they also teach teamwork and the importance of being responsible to others. They allow kids to build confidence and are a key part of developing happy and healthy children. By ensuring all students have access to athletic equipment from an early age, we can give them the tools to continue healthy exercise habits throughout their lives benefitting their academics, mental health, and much more.
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.
For Emmi, sports have always been a key component of who she is and how she interacts with the world around her. At five years old, Emmi demanded to come out of her pink tights at ballet class and to slip into a much more comfortable pair of soccer cleats. On the field, Emmi has learned the value of teamwork and discipline as well as how to use her voice as a leader. The inspiration and lessons learned through her various athletic endeavors continue to provide a springboard for growth and an opportunity in all aspects of her life.
Currently, Emmi is a Junior at Washington University in St. Louis. For her work with Play It Forward, Emmi was named one of 15 national recipients of the 2015 Diller Foundation Teen Award for displaying exceptional leadership in service projects, was named the top high school volunteer in California as the 2016 Prudential Spirit of Community award, was named the 2014 Youth of the Year by The Chatsworth Community Coordinating Council and has received six gold-level Presidential service awards.
Anya is an 8th grade student at Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth, California. She began her love for sports at four years old by playing club soccer, basketball, volleyball, cross country, track, swimming, and martial arts. In her spare time, Anya also teaches Tae Kwon Do, sharing her love of the sport with younger students.
Anya has been heavily involved with Play it Forward since age 10. She began as a volunteer and quickly took the initiative to become more involved in Play It Forward. Anya knows the deep impact sports have had on her life and hopes to continue sharing that with other children. “I love the mission,” Anya shared while addressing the Play It Forward Board. Under Emmi’s mentorship, her dedication to the mission and passion for sports make Anya a perfect choice to lead the organization into 2020 and beyond.
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 8-21 years of age) underscores our key emphasis on “kids helping kids.” 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. By directly interacting with the students they serve, our youth advisors empower fellow students to follow their passions and take advantage of opportunities through sports.
Youth advisors plan and execute fundraisers in various communities, create and update social media marketing and promotion and develop innovative ways to expand the reach of Play it Forward. While making a meaningful difference in the lives of their peers, youth advisors develop valuable skills in teamwork, problem solving, leadership and more.
The biggest surprise for the entire Youth Advisory Board is 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 is incredibly inspiring to all involved.
To form a Youth Advisory Committee in your community fill out the Kids Helping Kids Volunteer Board.
Funding / Equipment
Commitment / School Participation