Everyone Can Play!, a nonprofit organization founded by a Lutz teen, needs the community's support to continue its three-part mission to help children with special needs, end bullying and provide leadership experience and growth opportunities for teens.
Owen Sarwatka, 18, founded the organization in 2010 as a high school sophomore. As it has grown, so have its needs.
Local teens make up the board of directors, and the goal is to have the entire operation run by high school students, Owen's mom and organization director Suzanne Sarwatka said.
Their work includes fundraising efforts, researching and writing grant proposals, and other administrative duties, in addition to coordinating the sports skills clinics for children with special needs.
Some of the teens don't have the resources to have their own computers and cell phones at home, Suzanne Sarwatka said. They are hoping to raise enough money to help the teens get the technology they need.
In addition, the organization needs baseball equipment and other items for clinics. A wish list is attached to this story in the photo section.
Funds are vital to the organization's continued growth and success, she said. Owen foregoes Christmas gifts to fund the clinics and the administrative costs himself, along with donations that come in from businesses, grants and individuals.
The next free baseball clinic will for children with special needs will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 12 at Northside Little League, 2650 N. Lakeview Drive in Tampa. Volunteers, players and spectators welcome. Check the website for details.