A young Langford athlete passionate about lacrosse and other sports continues to do his part to give back.
Ford Preston, 13, began collecting donations of gently used sports equipment to pass along to families in need a year or so ago and is now looking to expand the reach of his program.
“I know how expensive gear is and I want families who can’t really afford it to have access to sports because it’s medicine for a lot of people, it’s medicine for me,” Preston said.
His family is planning to take lacrosse gear and other donations on an upcoming trip to Uganda, to help create access to sport for children in Africa. Ugandan-based charities IFamile Emu Children Center and Kids Lacrosse Africa use lacrosse as a way to build education, community and success for youth.
Preston’s understanding of the barriers many families face led to the development of the grassroots organization, Preston’s Sports Link Network.
Free gear is offered for a variety of sports such as soccer, tennis, hockey, lacrosse and even dance. The gear is kept at the Storage Room in Langford, which donated a space to Preston for as long as he needs.
The Saanich Lacrosse Association, an organization aiming to make the sport more affordable for families, donated much of the lacrosse equipment that Preston currently has on hand.
“The initiative demonstrated by Ford is impressive because he has recognized a gap in accessing sport and taken tangible steps to open sports to those who may not have had the opportunity,” said association president Andy Stuart. “The lacrosse community will watch as this emerging leader continues to grow.”
On a personal level, Preston’s mom, Tiffany Magionas said his physical and mental health depends largely on being able to channel his energy into sports, and not having access during the pandemic got him thinking about how many others have financial barriers, too.
“When COVID shut everything down, Ford lost all ability to participate in his rec sports, however, for him it affected him a little bit more than it may have others because he has a Tourette’s diagnosis,” she said.
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To make a donation for Preston’s upcoming trip to Uganda visit gofundme.com.
To donate or arrange to pick up equipment, visit prestonssportslink.wixsite.com/prestonssportslink.