The big win: School receives $15,000 worth of equipment

SAN BENITO — The cheering was so loud you couldn’t hear yourself think.

The Dr. Raul Garza, Jr. Elementary students could not contain their excitement once they saw what lay before them.

Shiny, brand new sports equipment sat on a table. It consisted of footballs, basketballs, soccer balls and a bunch of other goodies all for the kids.

Principal Elsa Lambert was ecstatic and excited for her students. Prior to the unveiling of all the equipment, Lambert said she was already being questioned by curious students. “Is this ours, is this ours,” they asked.

It was all for them, she told them when they finally piled into the cafeteria.

The applause and yells of excitement were deafening.

The Dr Pepper Snapple Group awarded the school with a sports equipment donation as part of the Let’s Play Before and After Photo Contest.

Youth-serving organizations submitted pictures of their worn-out sports gear for a chance to win new sports equipment.

The field was narrowed down to the top 15 finalists and then a public online vote determined the winners.

The top three earned customized sports equipment grants and seven garnered $1,000 physical education kits. The City of Coopersville in Michigan won second place and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County finished in third place.

Dr. Raul Garza, Jr. Elementary finished in first place and earned a $15,000 equipment grant. They placed highest in the nation out 100 entries and received 10,000 votes during the contest.

Not only will these new additions replace old and worn equipment but it will also encourage the students to get more exercise.

Studies show that in addition to the obvious benefits of regular activity, kids who participate in sports enjoy better nutritional awareness and improved self-esteem.

However, kids also need the proper equipment to enjoy these benefits. Through the Let’s Play initiative, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Good Sports have equipped more than 3 million kids around the nation with the tools to play.

Lambert hopes her students choose to be physically fit and then take those habits home, creating a healthy community.

“We are so thankful to Dr Pepper Snapple and Good Sports for this outstanding donation,” said Dr. Raul Garza, Jr. Elementary physical education teacher Mel Sosa.

“At our campus, we have initiated and maintained a movement of change in the areas of healthy eating and active living. We will be able to accomplish so much with this new equipment.”

About Let’s Play

Let’s Play is an initiative launched in 2011 by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to provide the tools, places and inspiration to make play a daily priority.

Working in partnership with the nonprofit organizations KaBOOM! and Good Sports, Let’s Play engages community organizations, thought leaders, elected officials and DPS employees to help eliminate the “play deficit” by building and improving play spaces and providing grants for athletic equipment and gear.

Through the group’s partnership with Good Sports, an organization which provides donations of athletic gear, footwear and sports equipment to deserving organizations or communities, Let’s Play has donated more than $4 million over the past three years to help kids become active through organized sports and fitness programs.

What did the school receive?

• 24 soccer balls

• 30 basketballs

• 22 baseball mitts

• 30 footballs

• 24 volleyballs.

• In total, the school received 198 pieces and the donation will impact 1,200 students over the lifetime of the equipment.