This year’s class has partnered with Communities in Schools to launch a new program called RePlay, according to a news release from the class.
Leadership Franklin County is a yearly class organized since 1985, the release said. It is modeled after Leadership Kansas and is sponsored by the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce. Each year, the class chooses a project that its members hope will improve the lives of Franklin County residents.
The first part of the RePlay program involves the collection of gently used sports equipment, clothing and athletic shoes at different locations throughout the county until Feb. 28, the release said. The class also plans to raise funds to establish a scholarship fund for student physicals and athletic participation fees.
“We know that research demonstrated students who participate in extracurriculars succeeded greatly academically,” Meg Dickinson, Leadership Franklin County class president, said. “[Students] stay in school longer, it provides an opportunity to build positive relationships with adults and peers and it’s also the hope of the class and Communities in Schools that this will have the opportunity to grow into extra-curricular activities beyond sports to include those more creative curriculars, like art and forms of music and ensembles.”
The idea for teaming up with Communities in Schools was one of three proposed ideas the board of trustees brought to the class, Dickinson said, and was submitted by Steven Lane, Communities in Schools site coordinator.
“Steven Lane has a beautiful story in his own life of how participating in activities like this allowed him to go on to college,” Dickinson said, “and become a staff member at Communities in Schools and he felt passionate about getting materials into students hands to give them the opportunity because CIS works with students who can’t afford to participate in sports.”
RePlay is accepting such items as bats, gloves, helmets, shin guards, volleyball kneepads, basketballs, footballs, baseballs, softballs, volleyballs, soccer balls, playground balls, tennis rackets or golf clubs, new or gently used tennis shoes of all sizes, cleats, athletic clothing and new athletic socks, according to the release.