Beyond Athletics - Orange County
Research shows that children who play organized sports are not only healthier and physically stronger than those who don’t participate in sports, they are smarter too. Sports help build confidence, develop focus, and teach kids about emotional control. Unfortunately, for many kids playing sports is a privilege that they either can’t afford to do or their parents are working and aren’t able to take them to and from practice and games.
Denis Prado, a father of two, grew up in Garden Grove not too far from Bracken’s Kitchen, and didn’t have privileges to play club sports. Thankfully when he got into high school, he could play sports and after school, at higher levels. “It had a big impact on my life. I know what it takes and how it impacts being part of a community,” said Denis. “It makes you not take things for granted.”
In 2020, he set up Beyond Athletics Orange County, a nonprofit on a mission to help
students build and sustain character through the art of sports.
“We want to help students learn the fundamentals of sports that they are interested in,” said Denis. Perhaps, kids don’t have the financial support to play club sports and we want to give them that opportunity to learn that specific sport at a high level. We are currently helping students ages six to thirteen in Orange County.”
To start, Beyond Athletics has partnered with a school in the City of Garden Grove and is focusing on seventh and eighth-graders. They provide services for free but are asking kids to do a few things to build character and see their growth and how their development. Kids must maintain a 2.0 GPA which is what is required to play high school sports, and give back with eight hours of community service a month.
“A lot of the students at the junior high level, really don’t have the privilege to play sports, they really do not. They are so excited about the program and learning new skills and have the opportunities to play. They even wanted to play when it was raining; they do not want to miss a day. It’s a really good feeling.”
On weekends, Beyond Athletics is working with the younger kids off-campus and that’s when Denis met families who didn’t have money for groceries or food. Denis was at a loss on how to provide food for the families who are in need. He did what he could on his own, but
luckily that’s when he found out about Bracken’s Kitchen.
By word of mouth, he found out that many families are in need of food not right now, not just for the holidays. He connected to Cat at Bracken’s Kitchen and was able to receive meals for kids in the program before the holidays, and for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
A mom called and said, “We just finished eating. And I just wanted to say thank you, it means a lot to us.” Another mom said, “Thank you so much for bringing meals to us, with the price of gas now, I can’t afford to buy food. This is helping us so much.”
The Hernandez Family who has a son who attends Doig Intermediate in Garden Grove said, “The help came in at a time when we thought there were no resources, thank you for going the extra mile and thinking of my family during the holidays, it meant a lot to me and my family.” It's great to know there are people and
organizations like Beyond Athletics and Bracken’s Kitchen out here helping our community."
Denis says that he teaches the kids about character and being grateful for what they do have. I always tell them, “The little that you do have you should treasure it because there will always be somebody who doesn’t have that one little thing,” said Denis.
He would eventually like to expand Beyond Athletics Orange County into other schools and other areas. To learn more about their mission and events, click HERE to visit their website
We are so grateful to connect with Beyond Athletics Orange County and to provide meals to those that we serve.