The New London Bulldog football program has received a $6,600 grant from the JJ Watt Foundation. The money will be used to purchase new game jerseys for the seventh and eighth grade football teams. An order has been placed for 50 white jerseys and 50 red jerseys, and all will display the JJ Watt Foundation logo.
The JJ Watt Foundation’s mission is to provide after-school opportunities for children in the community to become involved in athletics, so that they may learn the basic character traits of accountability, teamwork, leadership, work ethic and perseverance while in a safe and supervised environment with their peers.
“Brian Yerkey, our Activities Director, received an e-mail with information regarding the JJ Watt Foundation,” said Bulldog Varsity Football Coach Marc Marsh. “He does a great job of sending me anything football related that comes his way, and at the time our staff was in the process of looking at our football budget and thought it would be worthwhile to try to get new jerseys for our middle school teams.”
Marsh submitted an application for the grant funding in early January. He was pleasantly surprised when a representative contacted him just one week later.
“She said the application looked great but they needed a quote directly from a vendor, rather than a purchase order. She also mentioned that the organization likes to display their logo on the jersey, and asked if I was okay with that. I was very optimistic that we were going to be approved, but there wasn’t really an official notification,” said Marsh. “That changed last Friday when I received a check in the mail from the JJ Watt Foundation to cover the entire cost of the jerseys. They also announced on Twitter that our school would be receiving $6,600 for the jerseys.
“Because of the cost of jerseys, our lower level teams always use jerseys that are handed down. For the first time, we will be able to provide the seventh and eighth grade teams with brand new jerseys,” continued Marsh. “I am hoping that the players have a sense of pride for Bulldog Football and will display that each time they put the jersey on.”
Marsh said he has spoken to several youth football players, and they’re all looking forward to wearing the new jerseys.
“The kids are excited beyond belief,” said Marsh. “I told a couple of the seventh grade football players about it as soon as I found out we had received the grant, and before lunch that same day, almost the entire school had heard that the football teams were getting new jerseys. The fact that they were being provided by JJ Watt’s foundation had the school buzzing!”
Marsh said this donation will provide a huge boost for the football program, noting his appreciation for Watt’s generosity and the positive example he sets for young athletes.
“With all of the negative things you hear about NFL players today, we are extremely grateful for the donation provided by JJ Watt,” concluded Marsh. “He’s a great role model for young people and goes out of his way to help others. It makes it even more special that he played high school football in Wisconsin and played for the Badgers.”