In 2007, the group creating the mission statement for what they would call the Saint Sebastian Sports Project had some very basic questions to deal with: How can we help level the playing field for all inner-city Catholic elementary schools in LA’s archdiocese? Who needs uniforms and equipment? Playing facilities? Improved coaching?
Four schools were identified to start the process. A few thousand dollars were raised and distributed.
A decade later, many of the same organizers for the Manhattan Beach-based nonprofit have seen nearly 50 schools benefit from nearly a half-million dollars donated for ongoing sports tournaments, outreach programs and coaching clinics.
And they continue to ask: If there are 100 schools out there who could use help, what is needed next to keep playing this forward?
Here is our story as published in mid-August by Angelus News.
Here are some other quotes we had about SSSP from the original story that was edited for space:
From Clare Gurbach: “We’re a very ambitious group and we have done this collectively with various skill sets from each board member. And as a result, we’ve been able to grow this very quickly with a great group of volunteers.”
From Marc Maye: “This is teaching me as much as it’s teaching the kids. They’ve helped me become the best version of myself, shaping and defining my true purpose. I’m extremely grateful for them.”
From Jamal Adams: “At the Catholic Youth Organization level, we talk about developing the mind, body and soul. The mind is the academics, and the soul is the church, but the body is connected to sports, which also makes us great citizens of the world. Saint Sebastian’s has gone from humble beginnings of trying to get uniforms for kids and stipends for coaches, to all they’ve done to this point. It’s a great story.”