Albany youth sports program raising money for equipment

Albany youth sports program raising money for equipment
Published: Jul. 31, 2022 at 6:05 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 31, 2022 at 8:45 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Before an Albany Pop Warner team, the Georgia Heat, can kick off their season, they need a hand-off from their community.

“The kids can’t play without helmets. They can’t play without the proper equipment. Safety is first,” Earnest Christian, the President of the Georgia Heat, said.

The Georgia Heat is a youth sports program that expands beyond the gridiron. They play sports like soccer, basketball and flag football throughout the year. One of their goals is to teach boys the reward of hard work.

“We call our boys the ‘hot boys’. It stands for heart over talent. We tell them the same way they are running for soccer or basketball or training for football, The more you put in, the more you’ll get out,” Christian said.

Keimon Jefferson, the team’s coach, said this type of program is what shaped him growing up. Today, Jefferson is giving back by being a coach.

“The parents just like to see that they have positive men in their kids’ lives that’s actually willing to be there day in and day out, in their lives as a friend, in their lives as another father figure,” Jefferson said.

This year the team is independent meaning that they have to raise their own funds for equipment.

Earnest Christian says this year has been harder to get equipment because of higher costs and...
Earnest Christian says this year has been harder to get equipment because of higher costs and lack of availability(WALB)

Christian said this year it’s been harder to get what they need because of higher prices. The helmets they need seem to be in good stock.

Christian is unsure if that’ll change with thousands of youth programs ordering them. Each new helmet costs $250.

“You are going to spend money on a football helmet. None of them are cheap but you get what you put your money in,” Christian said.

During their weekend fundraiser, the team raised enough money for 3 new helmets. Christian is about 15-20 helmets short of his goal of 80 helmets. They also need to pay for 80 new jerseys for the upcoming football season.

Georgia Heat raised funds this weekend through a BBQ.
Georgia Heat raised funds this weekend through a BBQ.(WALB)

The program is still asking for community support. Christian says his goal is so that the only thing parents have to worry about finically is paying for registration, not paying for shoulder pads.

Anyone can donate or find out more information by contacting the team through their Facebook Page.

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