In our quest to find good people doing great things, the snowball effect has been extraordinary. The more inspiration we seek, the more we find.
This story is a special one. It’s about a man who handled one of the worst possible personal tragedies by channeling it to help kids in need of parental guidance and support.
Greg Strzegowski’s mission became a reality when his children, ages 10 and 11 at the time, lost their mom to cancer. Besides the overwhelming grief the family suffered, this heartbreak revealed the disadvantages that can be experienced by kids with single parents, as well as at risk kids who don’t have a parental “fan base”. He decided to give his time and money to mentor and finance some dreams.
Greg’s goal was more than to help kids get a chance to participate in sports and learn how to function as part of a team. The goals of his efforts were also to educate. He wanted them to learn to be “better learn to be “better basketball players, but also to be better citizens and good adults.”
With his Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) coaching, Greg would sponsor young people, but would also instill the honor of the sport and good sportsmanship itself.
“Be respectful to one another, to the other teams, to other players’ parents, and to the game’s officials.”
Social Media and Pizza Hut
He teaches them to have respect for themselves by being more respectful on social media – particularly because of its impact on their future academic and sporting pursuits. Colleges review the digital footprints left behind in their assessment of a school’s candidate. Social media can instead be a means by which kids can showcase the positive aspects of their personalities.
Greg’s efforts are not intended to hand over a free pass to enjoy extracurricular sports, but to build character so these young people can learn to become advocates for themselves. They are taught that having the chance to play sports is a result of keeping their grades up and understanding the importance of not bullying one another. The rewards are self-respect AND a chance to hone athletic skills.
Many of the unsupported and underprivileged kids he helps have never seen green grass or a Pizza Hut, or had sneakers bought for them. Which is part of why he does it – to see the smiles on their faces.
“Athletics will help keep a student in a structured program and will help keep them out of trouble. But also, it shows them the respect they deserve while demonstrating that they as people have value and can contribute to society.”
Besides his personal donations that sponsor kids to play in the AAU, Greg is looking for people who can make contributions to the organization – even things as affordable and welcome as cases of water. If you can’t be a big money donor, it doesn’t matter – everything helps.
“I am passionate about helping kids who can’t afford to participate in school activities because of finances or illness. I am consistently on the lookout for all kinds of support; even bigger corporate sponsors who have the means to make the financial difference.”
- Today’s children need their self-esteem to be built in constructive ways. They need to be guided in the right direction so they don’t get into trouble because they can’t afford to play sports because no one is sponsoring them.
- If they get these kinds of chances, they may just learn to pay it forward to someone in need of their support one day.
If you would like us to share your own Looking for Good story, please submit your contact information here.
For interesting insights about the game of football from Coach Slow, former NFL Defensive Coordinator, sign-up for our newsletter!
“If you look for good, you will find it.” – Coach Slow