"Live with purpose. Expose your gift. Brighten your passion." - George Jeff
Marco Alvarez is changing the game through his non profit “Free Throwz”
The creation of "Free Throwz" and the impact Alvarez has made on his community
April 30, 2021
When the pandemic struck, many students used the extra time at home to relax, learn a new skill, or discover a hobby. Junior Marco Alvarez, however, was more focused on helping others get an opportunity that they’ve never had. Alvarez created “Free Throwz’ last May, a nonprofit dedicated to giving basketballs, soccer balls, and other sporting equipment to kids who otherwise would not be able to play sports at all.
Sports have played a major role in Alvarez’s life growing up. “I’ve played pretty much every sport you can think of, and I’ve learned a lot of valuable life lessons from playing sports,” he said. He explained how sports had taught him how to celebrate a win, deal with a loss, and work as a team. “I’ve made all of my best friends from playing sports which I talk to every day,” said Alvarez.
He realized that there are kids who don’t get the opportunity to play sports and get those valuable experiences. On top of that was the COVID-19 pandemic that kept kids stuck inside for the entire day.
Alvarez took action and set out to raise money to purchase sporting equipment to give to kids so that they could practice sports at home or anywhere. He posted his mission on social media, and his message was heard. Since creating “Free Throwz” in May, Alvarez has held seven online fundraisers to purchase equipment for local youth organizations.
The entire process of fundraising and donating the equipment “takes a lot of patience,” said Alvarez. He explained how after making sure he raised enough money, he contacts several local organizations that he thinks would benefit the most from his work. “I’ll do research on mostly local or semi-local places that have kids in need of sporting equipment,” he said. This process can potentially take weeks as he waits to hear back from different organizations and schedule a time to donate the equipment. “It’s a lot of research, writing emails, and keeping inventory.”
One of his equipment drives was for the Vista Boys and Girls Club, and this time he was able to personally deliver the sporting equipment to the kids. “Seeing them happy made me happy,” said Alvarez.
One year later, Alvarez remains focused on helping people in need: “My goal when I started was to help as many kids as I possibly can,” he said. “I think that goal is pretty much the same: to help as many people as I possibly can and to keep this thing going in the future… it’s something I like to do.”
Not only does he see “Free Throwz” as a way to directly help out his community, but he also hopes it shows others that they can also make a difference. “I think that the best thing that can come out of this is to inspire other people to do the same. It doesn’t have to be related to sports. It could be helping other people out or creating your own nonprofit,” said Alvarez.
In a year when many people were focused on stocking up for themselves, it is great to see someone take the initiative to ensure the well-being of others in their community and doing so by incorporating what he loves most.
In a year in which society lost so much, Alvarez is making sure that the one thing kids in his community can count on is sports.