The players of Paradise Adventist Academy in any other instance would be excited and proud their team made the semifinals. However, after the wildfires left much of northern California in ruin, the game didn’t have the same effect, especially since many of the players lost their possessions.
Their opponents, Forest Lake Christian School wanted to show some camaraderie during the difficult time and decided to organize a clothing drive for the players. Athletic Director LaRon Gordon set up meetings with administrators and began reaching into their network to assist.
“We got out and called our friends, community, got on social media,” Gordon said. “And we set up three little bins outside the school (for donations).”
By the next day, the bins were full of items.
To take it one step further, Gordon was able to get in contact with a company who worked overnight to make jerseys for the Paradise team. On game day, the Paradise team walked into the gymnasium and saw their names on uniform jerseys and were also outfitted with knee pads and other equipment.
“We saw the jerseys with socks and kneepads and shorts and there were bags with jerseys and shoes,” said Quincey Carter, a Paradise player. “We don’t even know how they pulled that together so quickly. It was just a feeling of overwhelming love.”
The Paradise Adventist Academy lost the game, however, they walked away with a sense of normality, even if it was brief. The players were also gifted with something extra to help them get through the holiday season.
“At the end of the match. they handed every girl on the team an envelope of $300 worth of gift cards for places for them to buy clothes,” Paradise volleyball Coach Jason Eyer said. “And they presented me with a box of gift cards and cash with over $10,000 for the families at the school.”
This is awesome. Well done.
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