Springfield HS football team volunteers to distribute shoes to kids in need

Thirty members of the Springfield High school football team volunteered at the last Shoes 4 the Shoeless event. Contributed
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Thirty members of the Springfield High school football team volunteered at the last Shoes 4 the Shoeless event. Contributed

About 30 members of the Springfield High School football team recently helped distribute shoes to children in Springfield with Shoes 4 the Shoeless, a local non-profit that donates gym shoes and socks to area children in need.

A lesson Head Coach Maurice Douglass hoped the volunteer work drove home for his team is to always care for each other and the community, he said.

“Our success this season is not just a win for us as individuals, it’s a win for the entire community,” he said. “Even though the lead up to the championship game has been very busy for the team, I think it’s extremely important for them to remain humble and gracious even in the midst of their success. If there is a way to reciprocate some of the love and support we’ve received to the rest of our Springfield family, we’re going to do that.”

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The players volunteered because they know how much it means to the younger kids to see them.

Senior football player Dominic Turner said volunteering is one of the best experiences he’s had this season.

“As soon as we walk in the door, you can see the kids’ faces light up because they know we’re there for them. I’ve gotten to hang out with so many cool little kids while I’ve volunteered, and it makes me feel great for the rest of my day. It’s so humbling that these kids look up to us as role models, almost like we’re their version of an NFL player,” he said.

Turner added that they also volunteer because it helps them stay focused on the community.

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“The 30 of us chose to volunteer our time ahead of the biggest week of our season because it helps us stay focused on what a win like this would mean for Springfield. It’s a win for this little fourth grader, his fifth-grade brother and every kid in this city. It shows them that they have the potential to be just as successful, if not even more so,” he said.

The kids trying on new shoes may one day be a Wildcat, Douglass said, and spending time with the team helps build up the next generation.

“My guys may not even understand yet how much of an influence they have over the elementary school students and how much they are revered. Kids will smile for the rest of the day because they got to hang out with the Wildcat football team for an hour. That’s a powerful force,” he said.

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