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Giving back: Softball player starts foundation

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Posted: Monday, February 11, 2013 12:00 am

For many students, “Ut Prosim” is a value they pick up when they come to Virginia Tech.

However, for sophomore second baseman Kylie McGoldrick, “that I may serve” is something that she has adapted prior to her days on the Virginia Tech softball field.

Despite an intense academic and practice schedule, she still finds the time to give back to others and teach them about the game that has given her so much.

Her summers home in New Jersey are spent playing softball on a travel team and volunteering with a program called “Buddy Ball,” a program that teaches children with disabilities how to play softball. This is the program that initiated the idea of starting a foundation of her own.

Long before her days of playing softball at Tech, McGoldrick found a way to incorporate her love of both softball and giving back. In the summer of 2009, McGoldrick and her father, Kevin, founded “17K Diamonds For All,” in McGoldrick’s hometown of Stratford, N.J.

The foundation was named after McGoldrick’s jersey No. 17.  The “K” is for Kylie and “Diamond” is a reference to the baseball and softball fields.

McGoldrick’s love of giving back is rooted deep inside of her. Her family believes that it's an important value in life; they also participate in the “Make-A-Wish" Foundation. 

Because of McGoldrick’s and her family’s involvement in charities, they came up with the 17K Diamonds for All to benefit others year round. Though they understood that this foundation would never be as big as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, they knew that this would be their contribution.

The collections are normally held at McGoldrick’s showcase tournaments in Pennsylvania. McGoldrick said that before a showcase, she emails the coaches from the opposing teams and asks them and their players if they will bring any of their used softball gear to donate to the foundation.

The foundation’s first collection in the summer of 2009 was its biggest to date. This collection contributed over 65 bats, 18 helmets, a dozen gloves, new sets of numbered jerseys and several dozen pairs of cleats.

The two collections McGoldrick held in New Jersey benefited two local charities. One was the Boys and Girls Club in Camden, N.J.; the other was a local church in Laurel Springs, N.J.

McGoldrick said that because of her tough practice and academic schedules, being away at school and all the charity work she does with Tech softball makes it tougher to keep up with her own foundation. Therefore the summer is the most convenient time for her to do collections and drop offs.

However, in January, McGoldrick brought the foundation to Blacksburg. She asked the Tech softball and baseball players to bring back any of their old gear to donate.   

The collection, which is benefiting the Montgomery Parks and Recreation in Christiansburg, brought in 23 gloves, 11 bats, three bat bags, 15 pairs of cleats and a single set of catcher equipment.

McGoldrick said that though the collection was smaller compared to the other two previous collections, McGoldrick and the teams were proud that they were able to contribute to the local community in Blacksburg.

McGoldrick has not stopped to catch her breath though; she already has plans to do another collection in the spring. The collection would again involve both the softball and baseball teams.

For McGoldrick, giving back is the best part of her softball experience. She said that seeing how excited the children were when she went to drop off her first collection brought tears to her eyes.

“They are just so thankful for everything you give them,” McGoldrick said.

McGoldrick said that as much as she loves playing, she enjoys coaching and teaching others the game she loves even more. She said that because the game of softball has given her so much, she wants others to be able to get just as much out of it.

Giving back is something that McGoldrick hopes to continue to do in the future. She hopes that the foundation will continue to grow and have more collections.  

“I want to continue working to the best of my ability providing others with the opportunity to play softball and baseball,” McGoldrick said. “Everyone should be able to have the same opportunities to thrive in a sport they love.”

She wants to continue doing charity work with her family, specifically her younger brother because they share the connection of giving back.

“We were blessed in so many ways with the talent to play the game along with having all the assets to make it possible,” McGoldrick said. “We want to do the best we can to share that ability with others.”   

McGoldrick has made softball a bigger part of her life than just a sport she plays.  This sport has become something that she hopes to spread along the east coast and eventually to other parts of the country and the world.

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