Written by: Marissa Packard
Photos Courtesy of Victory Sports and Discover716 website
The last couple months have not been ideal for college students because of the reduced opportunities for us to gain experience in our desired field of study. Since I am a Senior at SUNY Brockport and I am closing in on my last semester as a college student, I have been searching for experience and opportunities to grow my portfolio. My interest is writing about sports, but quite frankly I wasn’t seeing much in that field.
Luckily, I came across Discover 716 over the summer and applied to their internship program. Discover 716 has given me an opportunity to learn in a non-profit organization setting and to work with local Buffalo businesses. It gives real work experience to interns who are interested in marketing by working with small businesses or non-profits around Buffalo. The program’s mission is to try to provide an array of marketing services to businesses and not-for-profits that are trying to build their brand but simply do not have the marketing budget. This presents an opportunity for college interns like me to step in and contribute to the marketing efforts for such organizations. Discover716 pairs interns up with organizations that fit your interests. My interests that I have focused my work on so far has been sports. I have written sports articles for the Discover716 blog on the website and now I have shifted gears from writing articles on our beloved Buffalo sports teams, to working with another local non-profit, Victory Sports.
Victory Sports’ mission is to help under-resourced schools, leagues, teams, and athletes obtain equipment they need for sports participation. Many families who have kids that play sports know how sports equipment can accumulate in their garage or basement and know the items could be used by other kids but perhaps don’t know what to do or get around to selling it. That’s why the founder created this non-profit, for families to have a place to give their good quality equipment to kids who can’t afford it. A big initiative that Victory Sports has been doing is giving away 1500+ items through the ball bins that are located around Erie and Niagara County. This gives kids an opportunity to still have sports participation throughout their day even with the impact of COVID-19. Another initiative that has been established is called #AthletesRead – “Literacy Through Sports”. This campaign will see sports-themed books used to help more kids want to read, pairing an interest in sport with the important skill of reading. This non-profit looks towards the under resourced areas and finds ideas that will help make that area better.
Victory Sports has given equipment to Algonquin Sports, Girls in Sport, Rural Outreach Center (ROC), and Police Athletic League. An exciting partnership that Victory Sports has developed was Bridge the Gap initiative. They’ve teamed up with the City of Buffalo, the Buffalo Police Department and the Bills Foundation to develop a duffle bag full of sports items that are kept in the back of police cars. This is to help build the community relations with the Buffalo Police department and the Buffalo Community. One of their biggest funders has been the Ralph Wilson Jr Foundation, via the Project Play WNY organization. From this partnership, Victory Sports has been able to give out backpacks full of sports and outdoor equipment to help kids stay active due to the lack of sports and recreation because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since this partnership has developed there have been many distributions of these play packs in the last couple of months.
For all of its good work, Victory Sports, like most small non-profits, has limited resources when it comes to marketing and promotion of their work. The support that Discover 716 can offer in the form of interns, who in return are gaining valuable experience, is why it is such a mutually beneficial partnership. I was excited that Discover 716 assigned me to Victory Sports and I have already been meeting with their team to begin some projects, including this review article. I think they have a very compelling story to tell and I look forward to contributing.
Both Discover 716 and Victory Sports show the importance of giving back to the community and the value that comes with partnership. I’m hopeful to use my talents to help both organizations succeed and their mission and be a part of their growth