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Lex Brodie’s scores with schools around the island: Gives away 12 soccer balls to 12 schools in 12 days

September 1, 2017 - 6:50am

WAIMEA — Mike Ng and Anita Tatum had a mission: to hand deliver 12 free soccer balls to 12 schools over 12 days.

They reached this goal in late August when they brought the final dozen to Kohala Elementary School as part of Lex Brodie’s Tire’s island-wide Play it Forward program. Kicked off Aug. 14, the giveaway included five North Hawaii schools.

The two employees began the outreach at Kahakae Elementary School in Holualoa. In the days that followed, they visited Pahoa Elementary, Waimea Elementary, Waikoloa Elementary, Prince Jonah Kalanianaole Intermediate School in Papaikou, Keonepoko Elementary in Hawaiian Beaches, Kapiolani Elementary and Keaukaha Elementary in Hilo, Paauilo Elementary School and Laupahoehoe Elementary. On the final day, they ventured to Honokaa Elementary and Kohala Elementary for the last giveaways.

“It’s really about supplying balls for the children to play with during recess, P.E. and after school projects so they can get their exercise,” Tatum said, the tire company’s marketing director. “In some schools, the office ladies were so thankful because they knew that the kids had so few balls to play with on campus.”

The idea originated last month after Lex Brodie’s donated 150 soccer balls to AYSO North Hawaii Region. The company’s operations manager, Mark Low, then decided it was time to reach out to elementary schools around the island too.

“We’ve been giving away soccer balls for five years to area soccer teams, but this is the first year that we did the Play It Forward campaign. It was so we could spread our aloha further,” Tatum said.

The soccer balls came from Uniroyal, one of Lex Brodie’s tire vendors, that heads a soccer program available to their dealers. The purpose is to help companies better connect with their communities by gifting game-ready soccer balls.

Deciding which schools would benefit was the next decision.

“We tried to be random while making sure they were spaced around the island,” Tatum said. “We gave four size 3 balls, four size 4 balls and four size 5 balls to each school. The principals were there for all the giveaways the days that we delivered them.”

In thanks for their generous gifts, Kalanianaole School gave Ng and Tatum fresh ginger root, and the principal at Laupahoehoe School took them on a campus tour.

“I appreciate community organizations that want to reach out to help the children,” said Kohala Elementary School Principal Danny Garcia. “We owe a lot to these organizations.”

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