When young people quit sports, it’s the beginning of a downward spiral with effects that ripple throughout lifetimes, said William Brandmeyer.
The trend is avoidable, the leader of the ShareWaves Foundation said.
“Young people are dropping out of sports before high school because there’s too much pressure. They aren’t having fun anymore,” said Brandmeyer, vice president of community relations and impact at Union Broadcasting, the parent company of 810 WHB sports radio in Kansas City. “We believe the solutions are local.”
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ShareWaves is a nonprofit organization — an offshoot of Union Broadcasting — to promote, foster and facilitate youth sports in the metro, which mirrors national trends showing rising dropout rates in the mid-teens, Brandmeyer said.
“We need to have an understanding of where the pain points are in Kansas City,” he said. “Until we do that, we can gain an understanding of what the local organizations are that are funding youth sports in the region.”
Launched in winter 2019, ShareWaves already is building connections in the startup and nonprofit communities, Brandmeyer said, noting the ShareWaves name comes from linking the public airwaves with nonprofits who need to get the word out.
In March, ShareWaves launched “March Gladness” — an online charity auction hosted by 810 WHB featuring such sports merchandise as jerseys worn and signed by Chiefs superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes to old chairs from Arrowhead Stadium. The auction raised $10,000, he said.
Since then, the organization has helped raise more than $300,000 for three other nonprofit partners, including Wiffle in the hollow for the Battle Within, $120,000; Mash Plastic Home Run Derby, $10,000; BeLegendary Landon Daniels Foundation, $70,000; and Volley Lama for Noah’s Bandage Project, $120,000.
A Nov. 11-14 food drive — part of the “My Team Cares, 810 Shares” campaign — is set to provide food to parts of the Kansas City community that struggle with food insecurity. The hope is that area soccer, basketball, and football teams will push the food collection to success while building team spirit in the process.
“ShareWaves is a platform for people who want to use sports for good,” said Brandmeyer.