UMD student brings sports to underprivileged communities around the world

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By Marianeli De Leon For the Diamondback Baseball, basketball, football and soccer. These activities bring many communities together for a single day or night of fun. However, some communities are not given the same opportunities to come together through sports. These communities may not have the necessary equipment to hold […]

By Marianeli De Leon

For the Diamondback

Baseball, basketball, football and soccer. These activities bring many communities together for a single day or night of fun. However, some communities are not given the same opportunities to come together through sports.

These communities may not have the necessary equipment to hold sporting events for their youth, which prevents kids and young adults from partaking in the activities millions of others get to engage in every day. This is where Sara Blau comes in.

Blau, a sophomore management major, founded a nonprofit organization called Game Changers New York in 2016. Blau’s organization assists underprivileged communities in receiving equipment for a variety of sports.

The organization gets the equipment from those who don’t need it anymore and through donations from the public. The equipment is then distributed to organizations that assist children of underprivileged backgrounds or disabilities, according to Blau.

At first, Game Changers New York helped underprivileged communities within New York “because that was, at the time, the easiest way to do things.” However, Blau soon realized Game Changers could do more for communities around the world.

When organizations from other nations such as Kenya, reached out to Game Changers asking for help getting sports equipment, Blau knew her organization could assist them with their needs.

“We’ve donated to over 35 partner organizations in nine countries around the world,” Blau said. “Our impact continues to grow pretty exponentially.”

Game Changers New York works with some volunteers who believe in its mission.

Andria Scaglione, a junior kinesiology major at Manhattan College, became a volunteer a couple weeks ago to help the organization with its mission. Scaglione said the organization’s mission aligned with her interests in helping children gain access to sports equipment.

“I think that it’s just a great way to enforce physical activity levels,” Scaglione said.

Scaglione helps the organization by reaching out to their partner organizations and asking if they need help with obtaining specific sports equipment. Scaglione said her experience working with with Blau has been very positive.

“We definitely have constant communication,” Scaglione said. “I love that she asks me for my input in terms of projects that they’re doing.”

Jared and Matthew Goldberg are brothers who also volunteer with Game Changers. They joined the organization a couple of months ago to give back to their community, especially as Game Changers is an organization one of their family members would have benefited from when they were growing up.

“Our dad when he was younger, he was not able to play on his varsity baseball team when he was in high school because he couldn’t afford the uniform,” Jared said.

They assist with researching organizations who need Game Changers’ help and going to the organization’s warehouse to organize supplies.

“Sara definitely helped guide us as to what in particular we could help out with,” Matthew said.

Blau knows Game Changers couldn’t have been possible without her family, friends and volunteers. She hopes her organization will continue to help communities that need them the most.

“That is something that is really incredible and something I’m really proud of,” Blau said.

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