4-H Member Makes Sports Dream a Reality for Those in NeedWed, 01 Sep 2021 14:32:06 CDT
When Pittsburg County 4-H’er Khloe Haile became a county 4-H Ambassador at age 11, she was encouraged by her 4-H educator to develop a community service project.
An avid softball player for several years, the Frink-Chambers 4-H Club member was aware sporting equipment could be costly, and she had noticed other youth didn’t always have the equipment they needed. That’s what inspired In Jesus’ Name We Play. Through this effort, Haile collects new and gently used sporting equipment that can be donated to underserved areas of her community.
Over the years, Haile, now a high school senior, has collected and distributed more than 8,400 pieces of equipment with an estimated value of about $300,000. Her hard work and dedication to this project was recognized recently when she was named one of the Invisalign ChangeMakers. One hundred winners were selected from 781 applications nationwide to receive a $5,000 educational scholarship. Haile was the only winner from Oklahoma.
“This scholarship definitely will help when I go to college next year,” Haile said, who plans to play collegiate softball.
When starting her service project, Haile knew she wanted to do something that could tie together her love of sports and 4-H. Through references, coaches and her partnership with the Boys and Girls Club, she has made a difference in the lives of thousands of athletes. She is able to offer equipment for all sports, including baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, football and even golf.
Haile can be found setting up a table with available equipment at various sports tryouts throughout the year.
“The kids are so excited they get to play sports and they’ll come over to pick out cleats, a glove, a helmet, shin guards - whatever they need. A lot of parents think they will have to pay for the equipment, and it makes them very happy when I tell them it’s completely free,” she said. “I’m glad I can help these kids and their families.”
To help promote her project, Haile said she made a video to show the importance of using the right sporting equipment.
“Putting the video together was a lot of fun and helped bring to light how In Jesus’ Name We Play can help youth by providing them with the proper equipment,” she said.
Donna Curry is the volunteer 4-H leader with Frink-Chambers 4-H, and she said Haile has always been a go-getter.
“Khloe started in my club when she was in third grade and she asked me who the kids were who were wearing those green jackets,” Curry said. “I told her they were Pittsburg County 4-H Ambassadors. She told me right then that she wanted one of those jackets one day. I had no doubt she would achieve that goal, and she did when she was old enough.”
Curry, who has 20 years of volunteer leadership under her belt, said there truly aren’t words to describe how proud she is of Haile and all of her accomplishments.
“Khloe has always had that desire to be more, and that attitude caught on like fire with members of the club. There’s no doubt she’s going to achieve what she sets her mind out to do,” Curry said. “I’m grateful for the ball of fire she started here at Frink-Chambers.”
Greg Owen, Oklahoma State University Extension 4-H educator in Pittsburg County, said it has been enjoyable watching Haile grow up through the Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development program.
“When Khloe became a county ambassador, she started preparing then to become a state ambassador. She even began recruiting other club members to do the same,” Owen said. “This girl has no quit in her. She’s a great student and athlete and role model. She’s been the recipient of the Best of the Best Award at our county fair, and she truly is.”
Haile said she is thankful for all of the opportunities 4-H has provided over the years.
“When you first join 4-H, you automatically get a second family. Everyone is always so supportive,” she said. “4-H has helped me with time management and provided opportunities to earn scholarships for college. Being a State 4-H Ambassador has brought me a lot of new experiences and I’m grateful for all of them.”
Haile plans to major in biology and go into the medical field.
Check the story out at okstate.edu.
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