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Friday, December 3, 2021

Schenectady Belmont Pop Warner surpasses fundraising goal, will travel to Florida to compete for national title – The Daily Gazette

SCHENECTADY – Call it a miracle of thanksgiving. Or, perhaps more fittingly, a successful Hail Mary that topped the team to six with only seconds in the fourth quarter.

Whatever you call it, Billy Kent is grateful. As do the more than two dozen 9- and 10-year-olds who make up the Schenectady Belmont Pop Warner football team.

After a 10–0 season, which saw the team emerge state winners, the team got a chance to compete for the national title. The $35,000 fundraising goal was all that was needed to cover the cost of travel and hotel fees for the trip to Orlando, Florida.

With time running out – the playoffs begin on December 4 – even for a team that managed to solve everything that came their way, the odds seemed impossible to overcome.

The community then rallied around the cause, as they have done all season, said Kent, who became president of the Schenectady Pop Warner program after joining earlier this year.

Within days, the team exceeded its fundraising goal, reaching $38,125 as of Wednesday afternoon, via a GoFundMe campaign launched earlier this week.

The team will travel to Florida, and additional funds raised will cover travel costs for the program’s three cheerleading teams that were also invited to compete.

Kent told the team moments after learning, “I’m overwhelmed with joy and general positive energy just to learn that these kids are going to be able to experience something that a lot of them haven’t been able to experience. ” be able to compete.

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After news of the event’s status spread, hundreds of members of the community, including several local businesses, donated to the cause.

Mohawk Honda and OrthoNY each donated $5,000 to the cause, and several donations of $500 and $1,000 were made within hours of each other.

Kent said the program has a profound impact on the more than 200 kids who compete on the program’s five football teams and four cheerleading teams.

The lessons, he said, extend beyond the field.

“We preach family, we preach love. We preach to be a good person, a kind person and we show how you can be tough but you can also be kind. You still How to be competitive but you can still be kind,” he said. “The kids have really taken to it and they really understand it.”

Kent said the community’s support will help reinforce those lessons.

“He’s done it all and he’s done all the right things, and now he’s getting all that love and respect back,” he said. “I think it’s the kind of thing that will help them grow into better young adults than not getting opportunities like this.”

Contact correspondent Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected], Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.

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Categories: News, Schenectady County

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