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Learn more about how C4K equips & empowers young athletes in need!

Giving Back When Plans Change

One of the ways C4K keeps our Locker Room stocked is through community collection drives. We partner with individuals, families, businesses, schools and more each year to host these drives and spread our mission of equipping and empowering kids! It’s an easy way to get people engaged in giving back to their community, which strengthens our relationships with one another while making our city a better place. Drives also present an opportunity to think outside the box! The host of the drive can decide where and when to collect donations and C4K staff have seen many hosts get creative with prizes, goals and more.

Ashley Facio, a native Texan who recently graduated with her master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma, is one such host. She turned her passion for youth development through sports into both a motivation to achieve her goals as well as a method for creating change in her own community! Her graduation should have taken place in Spring 2020, but COVID-19 had other plans. The ceremony was cancelled and Ashley was left to find a new way to celebrate her achievement. Based on her lifelong belief in the power of sports, she decided to host a collection drive amongst her family and friends as a way to commemorate her hard work!

The subject of Ashley’s master’s thesis project was “The Role of Athletic Identity for Career Success: Examining the Mediating Effects of Transferable Skills for Retired Collegiate Athletes in the Workforce.” She surveyed retired collegiate athletes and non-athletes in the workforce to determine how an athlete’s identity as such helps them succeed later in life based on their possession of traits such as emotional intelligence, mentoring ability, mentoring-receptiveness, self-efficacy and goal adjustment. C4K is no stranger to this idea – we believe that sports provide kids with the foundational emotional, physical and mental skills to succeed later in life.

Ashley feels that her personal experience as an athlete helped her achieve her own goals while overcoming adversity. Ashley grew up in Pampa, Texas, where she played softball and basketball in high school. After graduating from high school, she accepted an athletic scholarship to play at Oklahoma Panhandle State University. During her first year, however, her longtime boyfriend in Texas passed away unexpectedly. His funeral was on the first game of their season and after that intense experience, Ashley found herself in search of a new path. She transferred to OU to finish her undergraduate degree and began working at American Fidelity in Oklahoma City. What began as an internship turned into a career and now Ashley has found herself a part of a new community!

Her belief in the power of sports never subsided and Ashley was encouraged after attending C4K’s Help Kids Play Benefit last fall. “I hit a couple of roadblocks during my research that prolonged my graduation,” Ashley describes, “but by attending the luncheon, I was provided with motivation to continue working towards crossing the finish line to serve a greater purpose.” She identified with the stories she heard of athletes uniting together through sports and wanted to find a way to support the organization. We asked Ashley what her advice to a high school athlete would be, she answered: “Learn when you’re younger the impact that YOU can have on others. When you take a step back and zoom out, you can see that there is a greater cause out there. By getting involved in an organization that you’re passionate about, you can make a huge impact!”

Ashley’s master’s degree drive will take place over the next couple weeks. She’s reached out to her friends and family to encourage them to participate and has even promoted it on social media! All of the natural connections between Ashley’s interests and our mission were too amazing to not highlight. We are so thankful to Ashley for her passion and creativity!

Do you have an idea for a drive? Email info@cleatsforkids.org to get started and we’ll help you every step of the way!