Peace Corps Eyes Sammy Sports Effort

OCEAN CITY — The Sammy Wilkinson Memorial Foundation’s Global Gear Drive, an effort to collect new and used sporting goods from in and around the resort area to ship to less fortunate children around the world. reached another milestone recently with a partnership with the Peace Corps.

Sammy Wilkinson died tragically when he fell through the ice at a frozen pond at Northside Park. The Sammy Wilkinson Foundation dedicated in his name has achieved remarkable results in tiny outposts around the world where children don’t have the same opportunities as local kids do.

To that end, for years the Sammy Foundation’s Global Gear drive has been successful in collecting tons of new and slightly used sports equipment from local schools and shipping it to less fortunate children in countries around the world. Under the direction of the International Alliance for Youth Sports (IAYS), founded and operated by Sammy’s grandfather Fred Engh, children in countries such as Zambia, Morocco and Guatemala, for example, have received over 500,000 pounds of sports equipment donated and collected in the local area and from communities throughout the U.S.

“It’s amazing to think that so much has been collected and shipped in such a short time,” said Sammy’s father Bob Wilkinson this week. “And equally great is that our own community has done such a great job in offering to do its part.”

Just this week, the International Alliance for Youth Sports reached an agreement with the government in Guatemala to begin a nationwide implementation of youth sports in its communities. Equipment collected through the Sammy Foundation’s Global Gear Drive will be a key factor in the implementation of the youth sports programs. In addition, the IAYS has a meeting next week at Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C. to discuss a formal partnership with the Peace Corps, which is located in 77 countries around the world.

“This relationship with the Peace Corps, which has over 7,000 volunteers, could be a huge step in helping children not only receive sports equipment, but be able to help their communities develop and sustain sports programs for the children in their respective countries,” said Engh.