Student starts nonprofit dealing with sports equipment
Sports equipment can be costly for families struggling in Michigan’s economy.
But Sanford senior Casey Smith is ready to help.
Smith is the president and founder of a nonprofit organization called Cleat Repeat. The organization focuses on collecting and donating used sports equipment to needy children.
“The idea originally came to me while driving through my hometown,” Smith said. “I played football in high school and drove past a fellow teammate’s house and saw it was foreclosed on. I knew his family didn’t have a lot of money, but they put what they had into their kid playing football. It was hard to see that.”
Smith envisioned an assistance group that would allow underprivileged kids to play sports without taking a toll on family expenses.
“After doing some research, I found out there was nothing in Michigan like it,” he said. “I figured, at the very least, I would gain some public speaking and business experience.”
After planning out the details of Cleat Repeat, Smith entered the “Make-a-Pitch” contest at Central Michigan University in spring 2009. He won the $500 prize and began to spread the word about his nonprofit.
“We are still in the beginning stages,” he said.
Along with expanding in Mount Pleasant, Smith is working on reformatting the Web site (cleatrepeat.org) and eventually opening offices all over Michigan and possibly out of state.
Smith said nearly all those involved with Cleat Repeat are Central Michigan University students. He said a fellow student created a logo with the initials “CR,” resembling the recycle.
Dexter senior Robyn Shepard assists Smith with the public relations aspect.
“I am working on the business-oriented aspects right now,” she said. “We’re working on creating a newsletter, updating the Web site and reaching people that can supply us with sports equipment or donations.”
Smith also was offered inspiration from a family friend, Tom Haller, who owns a nonprofit organization and helped conceptualize the name “Cleat Repeat.”
Haller created Healing Acres (healingacres.com) in Bay City to focus on rescuing horses.
“I’m a big entrepreneur myself, and it’s a great life,” Haller said. “You need to have a self-starting ability. Being responsible for yourself is a great quality for college students to have.”
Along with running his nonprofit, Smith is a member of Delta Chi fraternity.
“I don’t want to have a job I don’t love,” Smith said. “That’s the main reason why I started Cleat Repeat. It’s not about the money for me, it’s about the experience and what I get to share with people.”