SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – A local Pop Warner team is asking for donations, so they can continue playing on the field.
The Schenectady-Belmont Pop Warner program has been around for nearly 60 years. But now 300 kids and their parents are asking for help to keep the strong community tradition going.
The goal is to keep the kids on the field, active and out of trouble.
“I’d just be laying down playing Xbox all day,” player Domencio Aldi said.
Coach Carmen Depoalo said things could be worse without pop warner.
“They’re in the streets, and we tell them there’s nothing pretty in the street,” he said.
Depoalo has coached generations of kids teaching far more than football.
“If I can’t get my grades up, I can’t play the game. I can’t practice,” player Ja-del Whitfield said.
And the kids are tough.
“I get to contact people, and I can truck somebody,” player Todd Williamson said.
But that contact is making it tough to keep them playing. New rules to protect against concussions mean the team needs new helmets at $150 to $175 each. Those costs in addition to rising overhead costs have led to the team asking for donations.
“Kids can’t afford to play today,” Depoalo said. “A bunch of parents paying for the things, and we just can’t afford to do it and our area is kind of depressed right now.”
The boys and girls just hope to keep cheering and hugging.
“We teach them how to love,” Depoalo continued. “There is nothing wrong with having love on the football field. Hugging and embracing and those kinds of things – we want from our kids.”
“It’s my life and have nothing to do without it,” Whitfield said. “I need it in my life.”
Go to the Schenectady-Belmont Pop Warner website to donate to the team.