The purpose of the Powerhouse Sports Closet is to level the playing field for all Beaver Dam children no matter what their socioeconomic background. The City of Beaver Dam is fortunate to have many recreational and developmental sports programs from pre-​​​​school ages through high school. However, as the children grow older, the cost of program fees and required personal sports gear increases dramatically.  Many of the local sports programs offer free reduction programs in a variety of ways from fundraising to volunteering to make participation a bit easier for all children.  However, the cost of the gear is a barrier to participation for many children.  Per the Beaver Dam Unified School District's 2016-2017 Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) report card, 48.2% of children were deemed socioeconomically disadvantaged as measured by free and reduced lunch applications.  Again, th cost of gear is a barrier to participation for many children who make up this statistic.

It is the goal of the Powerhouse Sports Closet to remove the cost of sports gear as a barrier to participation.  Furthermore, it is our goal to provide personal protection devices to improve the safety of our children.  Finally, we want to level the playing field in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. 

Parents and children who would like to borrow sports gear from the Sports Closet will complete an application, provide proof of need and sign a rental agreement.
*Application: Each sporting season (i.e. fall, winter, spring and summer) will have an open application window.  Parents and children will complete an application to request the equipment they will need for the upcoming season.  The application will identify what gear, including sized, the family will need.  The Sports Closet will work with each Beaver Dam youth sports program to identify a list of gear required for the specific program and the application will feature a checklist of items needed.  We will request families provide proof of a Beaver Dam youth sporting program registration along with their application.  Once the application is received and verified volunteers will identify if the requested gear is in stock.  If it is, it will be bagged and labeled for the family.  If it is not, we will seek out donations or sponsors to secure the gear.  Each season, we will hold two pick up dates for all families to pick up sporting equipment prior to the start of their season.
*Proof of Need: Families who are eligible for USDA free lunch programs will automatically be eligible for the Sports Closet.  These families will need to attach a copy of their free lunch application approval letter from their school.  This is a form of self-disclosure that is acceptable by both the USDA and the DPI.  Families who are not eligible for free lunch but are experiencing financial difficulty may apply for the Sports Closet by supplying a referral letter from their school guidance counselor or social worker, county social worker, case manager or other local social services agency (i.e. Clothes4Kids, PAVE, etc.)
*Rental Agreement: Families will sign a rental agreement upon pick up of their seasonal sports gear.  The agreement outlines the expected care and use of the equipment along with the return deadline.  It also states the replacement value if lost or damaged beyond general wear and tear.

As outlined above, the Sports closet will work with each Beaver Dam youth sports progam to identify a list of gear required for the specific program.  Prior to each season, the Sports Closet will hold a donation drive asking for donations of new or gently used gear off the lists.  We do expect to have more demand than donation supply and we recognize we will need to perform fundraising, write grants and seek vendor in-kind donations.  The experience and ablilities of our leadership team enables us to do that.

Janel DeZarn is a licensed School Business Manager in the State of Wisconsin.  In her professional role, she manages all business functions of a local public school district including budget publications and management, fundraising and grant writing, human relations, insurance and liability management, food services, buildings and grounds, transportation and more.  In her free time, Janel volunteers as a coordinator for the Dodge County Toy Bank, a nonprofit entity that provides gifts, clothing and meals to over 1,200 children in the greater Beaver Dam area each Christmas.  Janel has five children in Beaver Dam youth sports programs and she has witnessed first-hand the attrition of kids leaving sports due to families being unable to afford the additional costs.  As a former strength and conditioning coach, Janel is committed to leveling the playing field. 

Got an old baseball glove you no longer need? 
How about some cleats?

Donate them to Powerhouse Closet and make a difference in another athlete's life.