Albany Youth Sports Program, Equipment Fundraiser


ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) — Before an Albany Pop Warner team, the Georgia Heat, can kick off their season, they need a transfer from their community.

“Children cannot play without headphones. They can’t play without the proper equipment. Safety comes first,” said Georgia Heat president Earnest Christian.

The Georgia Heat is a youth sports program that extends beyond the gridiron. They play sports like football, basketball and flag football throughout the year. One of their goals is to teach boys the reward of hard work.

“We call our boys the ‘hot boys’. It represents heart rather than talent. We tell them the same way they run for football or basketball or train for football, the more you invest, the more you will get out of it,” Christian said.

Keimon Jefferson, the team’s coach, said this type of program is what shaped him growing up. Today, Jefferson gives back by coaching.

“Parents just love to see that they have HIV-positive men in their children’s lives who are actually ready to be there day in and day out, in their life as a friend, in their life as another father figure” , Jefferson said.

This year the team is independent, which means they have to raise their own funds for equipment.

Earnest Christian says this year has been harder to get gear due to higher costs and lack of availability(WALB)

Christian said that this year it has been more difficult to get what they need due to higher prices. The helmets they need seem to be in good stock.

Christian isn’t sure if that will change with thousands of youth programs ordering them. Each new helmet costs $250.

“You are going to spend money on a football helmet. None of them are cheap, but you get what you pay for,” said Christian.

During their fundraising weekend, the team raised enough money for 3 new helmets. Christian is about 15-20 helmets short of his goal of 80 helmets. They also have to pay for 80 new jerseys for the next football season.

Georgia Heat raised funds this weekend through a barbecue.
Georgia Heat raised funds this weekend through a barbecue.(WALB)

The program still requires community support. Christian says his goal is that the only thing parents have to worry about is paying for tuition, not paying for shoulder pads.

Anyone can donate or get more information by contacting the team through their Facebook page.

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