Many communities see an increase in charitable efforts during the holidays from volunteers who help spread the cheer. However, volunteer coach Martin F. Garcia of Wauconda urges adults to give back to their communities after the holidays have ended through regular team sports involvement.
Many society members see the holidays as an opportunity to give back to their community––through gift donations, monetary donations, and volunteer work in soup kitchens and other outreach programs. Even local league sports teams consider the season an opportunity for charity, as one Florida Softball League demonstrated this past Christmas.
The Panhandle Senior Softball League of Pensacola collected gift donations at their tournament to provide presents to needy children in the Pensacola area. The event itself, a partnership with Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, was created to rally donations from the community and will be celebrated each year going forward.
“The holidays are an excellent time to get people involved in charity and volunteer work,” says Martin F. Garcia of Wauconda. “When the holidays are over, a lot of the charitable spirit disappears, though.”
To counter this, he asks that more people recognize the importance of giving back after the holidays and contribute where they can. He explains that it doesn’t take much to make a big difference, and that getting involved in a volunteer sports program can be a tremendous gift to youth anywhere.
“Sports aren’t usually what people think of when giving back,” says Martin F. Garcia of Wauconda, “but a lot of good comes from team involvement. Kids find positive mentors, they build lasting relationships with their teammates and their coaches, and they participate in a positive, healthy extracurricular activity that they have fun doing.”
Mr. Garcia is a regular softball coach who applies years of his own successful sports career to training young athletes. In the past, he played shortstop, second base, and third base positions. Martin F. Garcia played with the Licorice Softball team and won in the South Bend, Indiana tournament, and won 2nd in Team All American. He also played with Flashback and won the tournament in Crystal Lake, IL, and again in the following year.
However, not all volunteers in sports programs have to apply athletic ability and take on a coaching role to make a difference, Martin F. Garcia of Wauconda explains. Volunteers can run concession stands, help in parking lots during matches, and show up in the stands as regular supporters. And because of it, the youth involved earn a troop of community members that encourage them to continue playing.
Many people wonder how they can get started in a sports program, and Martin F. Garcia of Wauconda is quick to point would-be volunteers to local sports organizations such as the USSSA for potential opportunities. This way, volunteers can give lasting memories and gifts to youth in their community long after the holidays are over––without having to buy a single present.