Stanley Hupfeld Academy asks for game-changing donations

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A donation of $25 can equip one underprivileged student at Stanley Hupfeld Academy with the equipment and uniform necessary to play the sport they love.

Stanley Hupfeld Academy’s Equipped to Win campaign states its goal is to enable every student to play a sport on an organized team with all the equipment and uniforms needed to participate.

INTEGRIS Health chartered Stanley Hupfeld Academy in 2000, and INTEGRIS Foundation organized the Equipped to Win campaign, according to the INTEGRIS Director of Annual Giving Jonathan McCoy.

“[The campaign is] truly powered by the many mentors, faculty and staff and community supporters of Stanley Hupfeld Academy,” McCoy said. “As many of us know from our own experiences, team sports foster comradery and build both physical and mental strength. Sports allow kids to learn new skills and learn how to respectfully compete and work together on a team with a common goal. Having the right equipment and athletic shoes and uniforms that fit are key to being able to participate.”

According to the campaign’s website, 90 percent of all students at Stanley Hupfeld come from homes below the poverty line. Many students have a passion for sports, but have not experienced playing on an organized team, the page said.

“Nearly all sports require specific equipment to not only play but to be competitive among other teams with resources,” the campaign page said. “It’s heartbreaking to imagine how even simple sports equipment can become a significant barrier for many of our students — keeping them from pursuing a passion.”

Bailey Strecker, a softball player at Oklahoma Christian, said she has played softball since she was five years old, and was privileged enough to play at home and school.

“I was fortunate enough where I grew up in a household where sports were a pretty big deal,” Strecker said. “So I was able to play the sport that I wanted to play, and I was able to basically do what I wanted to do with it. And I know there’s some other kids who don’t get that opportunity. I was also fortunate enough to go to a school where I could play the sport that I loved to play. It was a big deal growing up, being able to play what I wanted and being successful in it too.”

McCoy said the school believes the campaign will encourage and empower many Stanley Hupfeld students to participate in a sport they otherwise might not have been able to play.

“Many of us grew up with the opportunity to participate in sports or extracurricular activities — probably not even imagining what life would be like without those experiences,” McCoy said. “It’s heartbreaking to think of kids growing up here in Oklahoma City that might not have access to the resources needed to play a sport they are passionate about.”

According to Strecker, playing a team sport builds character and can have an impact on all areas of life.

“Growing up, playing softball taught me leadership skills, responsibility, trustworthiness, and knowing your teammates had your back allowed you to build trust with them,” Strecker said. “Also being accountable for your actions, on and off the field, because it always goes back to your teammates.”

Strecker said she works for USA Softball and helped organize a few sports camps for underprivileged kids in impoverished areas.

“We pulled the middle school kids and tried to give them as much equipment as we could,” Strecker said. “They were so eager to learn, because they hadn’t had that at school or at home or anything, so they just wanted to soak it all up. So that’s a cool thing and I like this campaign a lot. Even if you’re only with them a couple of days at a time, you can tell a big difference.”

The campaign encourages gifts of $25, which will cover the cost of equipment and a uniform for one child. They hope to reach their goal of $7,500 by Oct. 15 to ensure all 300 students will be “equipped to win.”

“We set out with a month-long campaign, because we wanted to raise the funds early enough in the school year to begin, impacting the students’ lives as quickly as possible,” McCoy said. “The dollars raised through this campaign will start impacting students right away.”

Those wishing to help can sponsor a child for $25, or donate a custom amount on their webpage. Donors also have the option of creating their own fundraising page as part of the campaign and set their own personal fundraising goal.

“A portion of the proceeds from the 2017 INTEGRIS Golf Classic benefitted the Equipped to Win campaign, but most of the funds have been raised through direct gifts to the crowdfunding campaign itself,” McCoy said. “Donors can also choose to make a gift offline by writing a check directly to INTEGRIS Foundation, and 100 percent of the gift is passed through to Stanley Hupfeld.”

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