Sharing the Love
Connecticut West Rush soccer player Gavin Villepigue shares his experience collecting nearly 500 items for R.E.A.C.H.
Every year, Rush clubs and players are invited to participate in the R.E.A.C.H. program, which takes previously worn uniforms and donates them to other Rush clubs around the world.
Gavin Villepigue, a Connecticut West Rush 08 goalie, took that invitation seriously, especially after lockdowns sidelined him from the game of soccer.
“Once Covid hit, I didn’t really have much going on,” Gavin said. “We started these virtual lessons, and it made me think how not all kids have opportunities to do anything. Then I found out about Rush’s REACH program to provide equipment and uniforms to kids who are underprivileged and wouldn’t otherwise be able to play soccer. Playing soccer brings me joy and I just wanted others to have that same experience.”
Gavin, who’s also a Boy Scout, decided to collect Rush uniforms and equipment from other players in his club and turn it into a service project.
“The organizing and preparing of the collection was hard,” Gavin said. “I had to call places to see if I was allowed to leave a collection box at their location. And for some places I had to just go there and just talk directly with the manager.”
Gavin managed to place donation boxes at five different locations around Danbury, Connecticut, including even one at the library. And when it was all over, the haul totaled nearly 500 items and included the following:
Gavin said all the work was worth it because of what he knew it would mean to other kids who love the game halfway around the world.
“It makes me feel good that other people get to experience what I enjoy so much,” Gavin said. “And I’m giving them the opportunity to do that through this project.”