Helping Baltimore’s Underserved Youth, One Soccer Ball at a Time

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Robbie Palmisano, the founder of All KIds Should Play was recently Maryland's top High School volunteer winning the Prudential Community Spirit Award
Robbie Palmisano, the All Kids Should Play founder, was recently named MD’s top high school volunteer, winning the Prudential Community Spirit Award.

For years, I’ve been trying to find a home for three used tennis racquets, 10 soccer balls, two footballs, a mound of lacrosse stuff and a brand-new soccer net. Though I publish the How to Recycle and Donate ANYTHING in Baltimore Guide, besides golf equipment, I’d never found a good home for used sporting equipment. Until now. Baltimore teen Robbie Palmisano’s All Kids Should Play collects usable sports equipment and delivers it to Baltimore City’s underserved youth. This story may be just the motivation you need to de-clutter your garage.

I knew Robbie was on his game when I received this email from him: “I cannot express how grateful All Kids Should Play is for any awareness you can spread. I think I speak for all of the kids who continue to suffer through the consequences of the recent riots when I say, thank you for your consideration!”

Palmisano is heading off to study at Duke University after graduating from Hereford High School last week. He unexpectedly stumbled onto the idea of All Kids Should Play two years ago when he learned that a local school was about to trash hundreds of roller skates. After a bit of legwork, he found a home for the skates at a Baltimore City recreational center. A few teared up. From there, he was hooked by the concept of “play it forward.”

Since then, Robbie created All Kids Should Play as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. With loads of help from sponsors and volunteers, and least of all his parents, the group has collected more than 10,000 sports items valued at $150,000.

The equipment is donated to kids playing at Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks’ centers, Boys and Girls’ Clubs, the Clifton Park Golf Course and in the Charm City Youth Lacrosse League. Under Armour, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Girl Scouts and Warrior Lacrosse have been key partners by donating equipment and supporting donation drives. Robbie even solved the ever-critical issue of securing convenient donation drop off spots. Brooks-Huff Tire & Auto Centers accepts donations at their locations listed below.

“It’s hard enough for some kids to deal with their real-life stresses. I think they should at least have fun and play outside. They need hope,” said Robbie.

All Kids Should Play is expanding to other cities with branches under consideration in DC, Chicago, and Massachusetts. There will definitely be a new site in North Carolina near a devilish stadium.

Want to Donate? Here’s how it works:

Drop off any clean and usable sports equipment to one of three Brooks-Huff Tire & Auto Centers during business hours:

Towson location: 909 York Road, Towson, MD 21204 (410) 823-4000

Timonium location: 6 East Padonia Road, Timonium, MD 21093 (410) 252-8440

Hunt Valley location: 11223 York Road, Hunt Valley, MD 21030   (410) 527-000

What is accepted? Every type of sports equipment in good condition. Soccer balls, basketballs, footballs, nets, lacrosse sticks and gear, baseball mitts, cleats, golf clubs, tennis racquets and balls, sneakers, just to name a few.

What is NOT accepted?

For liability reasons, football helmets, bikes, and scooters can’t be accepted. Also, please do not donate an item with a location name printed on the item.

FYI: Lutherville Bikes located at 1544 York Road (410) 583-8734 accepts used bikes. The bike gurus refurbish and then donate the bikes to people who need wheels to get to work and school.

Laurel Peltier
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