SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes visited KIPP Heartwood Academy in East San Jose on Friday to donate a bevy of sports equipment collected as part of the Verizon Adopt-a-School program over the last month.
[inline_node:10661]The day began when Earthquakes staff presented guest speakers Judy Tang, principal at KIPP Heartwood Academy, Liz Gallwitz from Verizon, and Earthquakes players Rafael Baca, Ellis McLoughlin and Anthony Ampaipitakwong who unveiled the sporting equipment.
The kids were then divided into groups to go outside and test out the new gear. In all, the Earthquakes and Verizon collected over 150 balls ranging from soccer balls to basketballs and tetherballs, pop-up soccer nets and cones and over 100 jerseys, shorts, and other apparel. The Shakers Squad and Earthquakes mascot ‘Q’ joined the kids in playing games on the blacktop and grass field at KIPP Heartwood Academy.
"It was great to see the smiles on the kids faces when they got outside to play," said Earthquakes midfielder Rafael Baca. "It reminded me of my days growing up playing soccer during recess. The whole experience was very rewarding."
[inline_node:10660]To conclude the afternoon, Baca, Ampaipitakwong and McLoughlin signed autographs and took photographs with the children. All of the kids received their own sports bags to carry their new equipment with a logo for their respective schools.
The Earthquakes and Verizon teamed up to create the Adopt-a-School program earlier this season. Throughout September, new and gently-used sporting equipment was collected at Earthquakes games, the Verizon store on South King Road in San Jose, and at PIER 39 in San Francisco. The equipment was donated on Friday, Sept. 30 to KIPP Heartwood Academy and KIPP San Jose Collegiate at the donation drop event.
The Earthquakes will also donate sports equipment to KIPP San Jose Collegiate.