Amid pandemic, Lelito’s Legacy Foundation grants $9,000 to aid struggling Student Athletes in St. Clair County
Posted December 4th 2020 by Lelito’s Legacy Foundation
Amid pandemic, LLF Grants $9,000 to aid Student Athletes in St. Clair County – In a year of school sport seasons coming to a halt, restrictions to practices and fans in the stands, Lelito’s Legacy Foundation is happy to announce they have continued to follow it’s mission of supporting low income student athletes with $9000 in Pay to Play Grants.
We know athletic departments and athletic boosters will surely be struggling to help meet upcoming students’ needs due to lack of fundraising from their normal events and no ticket or concession stand revenue from games to help support our local teams. We hope these pay to play grants will give some student athletes the ability to play when they thought they couldn’t afford it and can ease some of the burden schools take on to offset pay to play costs for student athletes in need. The funds have been split between 15 public middle and high school’s in St. Clair County that require Student Athletes to pay a sports participation fee. When school sports safely resume, the funds are expected to help hundreds of low income students throughout St. Clair County continue their athletic paths during the 20-21 school year.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions Lelito’s Legacy Foundation had it’s own set of hurdles to jump over; from cancelled events, last minute changes, and crowd restrictions the foundation gives credit to the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, loyal donors, event participants and local business sponsorships for the ability to carry out this years funding, in a time that the student athletes and their families need it most. Since creating the fund, $18,000 has been granted from the Lelito’s Legacy Foundation donor advised fund at the Community Foundation so that hundreds of local kids stay in the game.
“It’s a blessing to have Lelito’s Legacy Foundation envision a safe and inclusive sports community for all, and no child should be left out of a game due to costs. Their donor advised fund has allowed our local schools to help more than 200 kids cover their pay to play fees,” said Jackie Hanton, Vice President of the Community Foundation of St. Clair County.
Welcome home: St. Clair grad Tim Lelito signs with Detroit Lions
Posted Sept. 25, 2017 , by Joseph Hayes, Times Herald
ST. CLAIR – Tim Lelito is living his dream.
The St. Clair High School graduate is coming back home to play for the Detroit Lions after working out with the team Saturday and receiving a callback Monday morning.
“It’s been a roller coaster, I’m telling you,” Lelito said when reached Monday night. “It’s a dream come true. Since I was a little kid, we gathered around for Thanksgiving dinner and had family over to watch the Lions. To be able to do that and have this opportunity is incredible.”
Lelito has had a whirlwind experience the past few months. He went from playing offensive line for the New Orleans Saints to signing with the Tennessee Titans and now the Detroit Lions.
Lelito played collegiately at Grand Valley State after attending St. Clair High School. Lelito offers good position versatility for a Lions team attempting to bounce back from injuries on the offensive line.
Lelito has a history of playing guard or center and the Lions are currently battling injuries at each position. Starting center Travis Swanson and backup guard Joe Dahl each missed Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Lelito is already at work with his new team, learning the playbook and getting ready for Sunday’s game at the Minnesota Vikings.
“I just sat in a classroom or an office if you will, with a coaches assistant,” Lelito said. “He was helping me get up to speed with the play-calling and tomorrow I will be doing the same thing. I’m sure I’ll be there all day tomorrow.
“It’s a business. You get called on Monday and have to be ready to play on Sunday. I’m excited. They didn’t go into great length and detail about their situation. But I came in for a workout on Saturday for them. They gave me a call and said, ‘We want to sign you. When can you come in?’ I told them I was only 50 minutes away.”
Lelito has expanded upon the work of the Lelito Legacy Foundation in recent years and hopes being back at home furthers his outreach.
“I think it’s going to be great,” he said. “I had a great turnout for the football camp and with support from the Blue Water Area, even when I was playing for the Saints. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like now that I’m playing back at home.”
Lelito helps student athletes in need
Posted May 11, 2017
Tennessee Titan Tim Lelito understands that doing something you love can come with a price. Which is why the first priority of his Lelito’s Legacy Foundation fund is to grant $9,000 to cover Michigan’s required Pay to Play fees for area youth in need.
“Growing up in a household with a strict budget, I saw my family and other teammates pinch pennies just to keep us in the game,” said Tim Lelito, NFL offensive lineman. “It is important that I give back to these kids so they can receive the proper equipment needed to succeed and be freed from the financial stresses to do something they will benefit from for the rest of their lives.”
Lelito also knows teamwork is important for any sport, so he threw down a challenge: donate to help cover pay to play fees and he’ll match it. Five community partners came together to raise $4,500 and Lelito’s Legacy Foundation matched it with another $4,500.
Every public middle school and high school with pay to play fees in St. Clair County will benefit. These grants will support an estimated 116 kids during Fall 2017/Spring 2018.
Support for this collaborative effort came from organizations around the county. Money was donated by the Port Huron Schools Endowment Fund; East China School District Athletic Boosters and PTOs; the Community Foundation of St. Clair County’s Youth Advisory Council and its Marysville Community Fund; and the CAPAC (Capac Adolescents Preventing Abuse and Crime) Fund, a donor-advised fund established by Darcy Flynn at the Four County Community Foundation in 1999.
Capac native Darcy Flynn, a retired certified public accountant and attorney with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, currently resides in Maryland but recognizes the importance of what Lelito is doing. His CAPAC Fund gave $600 to middle and high school students attending Capac schools.
“The intent of my fund is to provide opportunities for Capac youth to make good choices and avoid any kind of abuse, whether it be bullying or drugs,” Flynn said. “Encouraging students to get involved with activities like sports directs their focus in a positive way, so removing barriers like pay to play fees is crucial.”
Although, like Flynn, Lelito’s career path took him out of state, the St. Clair County native recognizes the importance of giving back to his hometown. He established his donor-advised Lelito’s Legacy Foundation fund in October 2016 at the Community Foundation of St. Clair County.
This fund provides opportunities for youth to promote skill development, sportsmanship and positive self-growth. Lelito’s Legacy Foundation seeks to better the lives of children with adversities greater than they can overcome by themselves through sports.
“Seeing all these organizations come together to support the mission of Lelito’s Legacy Foundation is incredible,” Lelito said. “It highlights the importance of sports and other programs for students. All youth should have access to sports regardless of if they can afford to play or not.”
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