Teaching Life Skills Through Sport
Most of us will forever cherish the house we grew up in. We can still picture even the smallest details and don a subconscious smile as nostalgia returns us to some of our favorite memories, playing outside with friends and meals with family. We know this was not just a house, but a “home.”
Now imagine this house is a rent-by-week, 200 square-foot room you share with 8 other people. Your blinds must stay closed and you cannot play outside, which is less tempting with countless registered sex offenders within a one-mile radius. Your kitchen is a microwave. You don’t invite friends over. You don’t participate in sports. And sometimes, you don’t know where your next meal is coming from. Imagine being a child without a moment of blissful ignorance. Not only are you aware of the struggles of life in poverty, you are forced to live with them. This is your reality. This is their reality – numerous children and youth in our very own community bear these burdens.
As an employee of a local industrial company, Joel Bigelow saw a need for change and took action. Enter the founding of Endure Athletics, a local non-profit with a mission to enrich the lives of homeless children and youth living in our community. Our current facilities are churches and fields, but our sights are set on an Endure house. This will serve as our permanent location, where our afterschool program will provide opportunities for physical activity, nutritious food, tutoring, academic support, mentoring, and learning life skills. We want this to be a place where kids feel valued, loved, and supported. A place that will draw the nostalgic smile of one’s childhood “home.”
Endure’s first athlete is nothing short of a success story. In three short years, a shy boy has flourished into an exuberant young man – the kind that would make any parent proud. While his innate resilience is evident, Endure has helped him capitalize on his potential. This senior has a 3.1 GPA, plays rugby, and works a part-time job. He is saving for a car and, with support from Endure, recently obtained his driver’s license. With guidance in applying and an acceptance letter in hand, he will attend and has an opportunity to play rugby at MTSU this fall. This should be the exciting part, where he basks in confidence at all he has accomplished and looks forward to his college experience. However, the enrollment process was abruptly halted – parental refusal to sign the FAFSA paperwork. This means zero government funding and substantially limited scholarship opportunities. Without Endure, this would likely be where it ends. The cycle of poverty wins again.
Endure exists for these very moments. We will not watch circumstances define lives. We will not allow children to feel they cannot determine their future. And we will not let the cycle of poverty win. As such, if you would like to donate to Endure’s general mission or specifically to our new scholarship fund, please visit http://endureathletics.org. The best way to help our community is together as a community!