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Local school using crowd funding to help cover students' athletic costs

Posted at 7:03 PM, Jul 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-06 05:42:25-04

Sixteen-year-old Lavon Weathers wants a better life for his family and he knows that school is the best way to achieve that.

“Growing up in Baltimore is a very hard time when you’re walking around seeing bad stuff it makes you, it motivates me to want to get out of Baltimore more,” Weathers said.

Like many other students, Lavon is spending more time at school since Green Street Academy added athletics.

“It keeps people from like doing stuff, like selling drugs, doing stuff they’re not supposed to do,” Weathers said.

Dr. Dan Schochor is the executive director of Green Street Academy, and said adding sports teams has had a positive impact on students.

“We’ve found students are rising to the challenge,” he said.

Behaviors and grades have even improved.

"They’re so excited about being a part of that, that they are modifying behavior, modifying time management, so that they make sure they take care of business inside the classroom and they understand they are truly student athletes,” Schochor said.

But adding teams comes with a cost.

For Baltimore kids interested in playing sports, costs can average $2,266 annually per child, an expense that many families cannot afford.

“Sports are an extremely high expense for a school and then having that put on a child makes it harder,” Athletic Director Jay Leanord said.

Leanord helped to come up with a creative way to pay for equipment through crowd funding. The school has used GoFundMe.Com to raise money.

“We use Gofundme to get generous donations through friends and family, community activist have helped us buy equipment, uniforms, and type of gear,” Leanord said.

Its students like Lavon who make the most of those donations. And Lavon has big dreams for his sports career.

“I want to go to the NBA. I’m going to try to go to the NBA. If I don’t I want to be a technician,” he said.

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