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The Lifeline

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Sports 4 the Kids doubles down on its mission to give every local youngster the chance to play.

At first, it was just about giving kids the opportunity to play sports. Seven years later, it’s about those kids being the best they can be. 

Sanford’s Sports 4 the Kids has granted hundreds of scholarships to local boys and girls whose families can’t afford the fees and other costs required to play area sports. Now the nonprofit organization is expanding its mission to instill positive values and promote healthy lifestyles for sports-loving kids. The name of the new initiative: Goals 4 the Kids, naturally.

“If we provide a scholarship, it is now mandatory that a child and parent participate in the Goals 4 the Kids program, too,” says Danny Trosset, Sports 4 the Kids founder and a self-professed sports enthusiast. “It’s a one-hour educational course. We hold two sessions a year, one for spring sports, one for fall sports.”

The initiative focuses on four major elements:
Education – All children are reminded about the significance of education. To play an NCAA sport, Danny says, the average required GPA is 3.4.
Sportsmanship – This is all about being gracious winners, as well as gracious losers. The kids are also taught the importance of treating other players, coaches, and parents with respect.
Nutrition – The basic food groups are examined, and kids and parents learn the proper way to fuel up pre-game, post-game, and during the off season.  
Exercise – All scholarship recipients are gathered outside for a lesson in calisthenics and stretching techniques. Each athlete receives a journal to track both exercise and nutrition. Parents and coaches are asked to sign off on the progress. 

“This helps us hold the kids accountable,” Danny explains. “It makes them better people, better athletes.” 

And Danny should know. Sports is his life. From a childhood playing sports to a career working in sports, the 34-year-old believes the lifestyle is his raison d’être, his reason for being.

“I eat, sleep, and breathe sports,” says Danny, an Orlando native who attended Bishop Moore High School and graduated from Flagler College with a degree in sports management and business administration. From there, he spent three years at the Greater Orlando Sports Commission before joining the Seminole County Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2008. Danny currently serves as the director of sports tourism for Seminole County. He has three children with his wife, Amanda.

“I reached a point in my life where I wanted to give more to my community,” Danny explains. “It’s when I realized some kids didn’t participate in youth sports because they couldn’t afford it. I think about what my life would be like without sports. Sports molded my life, so I put myself in their shoes.”  

Working with Shivon Patel, founder of The Principal Law Firm, Sports 4 the Kids was established in November 2012. Shivon, who has two children, one playing in Lake Mary Little League, first assisted the organization as a pro bono legal counsel before the sports fan in her landed on Danny’s board. 

“It is really a good cause,” says Shivon, a Gator alum and Orlando Magic fan who only recently stepped down after serving on the board for more than six years. “The program offers kids the chance to appreciate team camaraderie and experience competitiveness and the concept of working together. It’s a good outlet. It gives them something to focus on and to look forward to.”

The Anna Effect

 In November 2014, Danny met Dawna and Anna Proctor. It was a moment that would forever change Danny’s life and propel Sports 4 the Kids into a new gear. Dawna and her kids were new to Central Florida and in an economic transition. When Danny learned of Anna’s passion for volleyball, he offered her a Sports 4 the Kids scholarship. She used it to try out for the Winter Park Volleyball Club and was an instant success. Today, Anna is a senior and star volleyball player at Winter Springs High School, entertaining college recruiters and working on her beach-volleyball skills.   

“In sports, you never know how it’s going to go, but you keep pushing,” says Dawna. “That’s how life is. You could be unsure of what is going on, then something happens. I told Danny I could never repay him for what he did for Anna. He opened up opportunities for her.” 

To show their appreciation, Anna and Dawna have become regulars at the Sports 4 the Kids annual golf fundraiser, telling their story to participants. Last year, Danny established the Anna Kathryne Proctor scholarship, providing even more opportunities for other kids with the dream of participating in sports. Anna chooses the recipients, such as a young man who recently needed $300 to play varsity baseball after his mother underwent brain surgery.

“As a mom, you want to give your children anything they want,” says Dawna. “Sports 4 the Kids gives them some normalcy so they don’t have to worry about what is going on.” 

Today, Sports 4 the Kids helps children get involved in whatever sport they crave. The majority of the requests are for football, cheerleading, soccer, and baseball. In addition to scholarships, Sports 4 the Kids also seeks out gently used sports equipment for scholarship recipients. Danny says the organization is now in the midst of expanding into Orange County, and he hopes to eventually grow the program worldwide, community by community. 

“This is my passion,” he says. “I love getting kids involved with sports. We can make this happen.”

Thanksgiving Setback

During the Thanksgiving holiday last November, the building Sports 4 the Kids uses as its office and storage space for sports equipment was vandalized. The damage was extensive. Computers were destroyed, windows were shattered, and sports equipment was stolen. Unfortunately, this was the second break-in at the same location, so  Sports 4 the Kids is actively seeking a new space with the help of community donations.

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