Early Head Start and Head Start Programs

Thanks to The Buddy Fund our Early Head Start and Head Start program (ages birth through 5) has been able to enhance the developmental skills of all children enrolled in the program. The sporting equipment purchased has helped even our youngest children build muscles in their sweet bellies, has developed balance skills for older children through jump rope games, and engaged all children in countless hours of social play. Additionally, through our home visitation program many families have strengthened their relationships by spending quality time engaging in a simple game of catch. While playing catch is important for development of hand eye coordination, a needed skill for school success, the time spent engaging as a family is a true milestone for many of our clients that will shape healthy life-long relationship patterns.

Youth and Family Counseling

The Buddy Fund’s grant allows children, youth, and families throughout Youth In Need to have access to various activities that would otherwise not happen, as well as creative counseling interventions with clients and their families. Several skills are increased by the use of things like sporting balls, jump ropes, and other equipment, including motor skills, relaxation techniques, self-awareness, goal setting, conflict resolution, and relationships.  Also, several of our clients are “body-smart” and need to move and be active in order to process information, so these items also contribute to that need.

One intervention that can be used with any of the balls is a game called “thumb ball” where the ball has different questions or prompts written on it. Whatever question your thumb lands on is the question you will answer. (Clients are always given the option to pass.) This game helps increase self-awareness, problem-solving, positive self-regard and healthy management of emotions such as anger and anxiety. Examples of a question would be: “Name one thing you love about yourself” or “Give an example of a time you were able to calm down.” This also fosters an increase in communication and can be used in groups, individually, or with families to learn more about self and others.  Several therapists use the balls for this game, and can vary in the theme of questions such as anxiety, anger, self-awareness, and conflict resolution.

While all of these items can help clients increase their physical and mental health through sports, there are more ways to use these items in therapy. For instance, when discussing healthy boundaries and personal space, clients can use the jump ropes to show how they feel about their own space concerns and how to address things when others cross boundaries that the client is uncomfortable with. The jump ropes are often used for a client to map out safe zones, and are particularly helpful with clients who have been sexually or physically abused.

Another way this grant helps clients and families is that the type of equipment we are given can be used as

incentives for clients to make positive choices and give them the opportunity to learn different sports and

techniques, while helping build their positive regard for themselves and others. These items make an impact

on clients at Youth In Need every single day, and they can help fulfill our mission by helping clients see their

full potential and identifying their strengths. 

The Buddy Fund has helped the youth of our organization by enabling The Salvation Army Gateway Citadel Corps to provide quality sports and enrichment programs for our children. 

For the past 40 years, our corps has been the recipient of Buddy Fund donations.  The sporting equipment, from playground balls and softball bases, to large-scale game sets, has been used in the development of several programs, and in events and tournaments since the corps existence.  We attribute much of their success to the supplies we receive from The Buddy Fund.

This year alone, The Buddy Fund has helped us to make a difference in the lives of over 200 children in our after school, day camp, and home school physical education programs.  Of most importance for the kids are lessons learned in sports discipline

and recreation that help us to fulfill our youth character-building mission.  The Buddy Fund has thereby been highly

significant in allowing The Salvation Army Gateway to develop and reach its own short-term and longer-term program

goals over the years.

We want to thank the members, sponsors, and community for their ongoing support in providing such a valuable

resource through the Buddy Fund.  With your continued contribution and commitment, you directly make a positive

impact in the lives of several youth in the St. Louis community!

Connie Reker

The Salvation Army

The Buddy Fund's support of LIft For Life Academy has been fantastic!  We are an independent Charter School that is located in the Soulard neighborhood and we serve students in grades 6th-12 that live anywhere within the St. Louis City limits.  575 students attend our school and this year 97% of our seniors graduated from high school!

We have no ​athletic fields on our campus-not even a gymnasium.  Our primary focus is on academics and preparing our students for colleges and careers after graduation.  We offer our students football, baseball, volleyball, tennis, soccer, basketball, wrestling, track and field, as well as, cheerleading.  We also offer Physical Education classes to our kids.  All of these programs are critical to the success of our school as our attendance rate is 93% per day so having sports available motivates kids to come to school.

The Buddy Fund has supported our students by supplying them with much-needed sporting goods and equipment since 2010.  The Buddy Fund assists our PE teachers and coaches to keep our students engaged in heart-healthy activities, as well as, organized sports.  Our kids also have an opportunity to learn new sports that they had never been exposed to and have now come to love. Our students learn about sportsmanship and how to compete with their peers from the city and county.

When people turn on the news in St. Louis they hear very negative information about city kids.  We are full of good news about city kids-but that does not seem to be news worthy.  Inner city kids learning to play tennis, baseball or soccer is of little interest to the community but when cars are broken into, graffiti is sprayed on city buildings or someone falls prey to being beaten, stabbed or robbed that makes the news.

What Buddy Fund is enabling our kids-city kids to play sports and be so physically active that at the end of the day they go home after school and sports programs, eat dinner, play computer games or watch television, shower and go to bed.  Our kids are not running the streets and damaging our city.

We must save as much money as we can to hire the best educators.  We have to prioritize that our kids can excel in math and be able to read and write.  We have to take our students on college trips because our students are going to college and their parents cannot miss work or afford to travel out of St. Louis to look at schools.  Your support makes this possible.

The Buddy Fund's support helps us by supplying us with sporting goods that we simply cannot afford.  We value PE and our sports but if a student cannot read and write they are doomed to fail in our society and certainly not be prepared for higher education or the work force.  Buddy Fund  has touched the lives of our students for three years.  That's 1,725 kids!

We appreciate your support from the bottoms of our tennis shoes to the helmets on our heads.  Please keep up the outstanding work your organization is doing.  Lift For LIfe Academy needs you and is grateful to your Board and your donors for helping  our kids to thrive in the athletic arena.

Congratulations on a job well done.  You are helping keep our students healthy, happy and motivated! Thank you

Marshall Cohen                               Susan Kelter

Executive Director & Founder          Community Relations & Volunteer Manager

Our club loves to say THANK YOU to our many friends, new and old, at The Buddy Fund!  These words are the most profound words our non-profit can say because they speak volumes of your commitment and generosity to the youngsters at Gene Slay's Boys' Club of St. Louis and other youngsters in the community.

Our club, formerly known as the Boys' Club of St. Louis has been receiving athletic equipment from The Buddy Fund since 1962.  That chance meeting between Executive Director (and my father) Ken Wild with "Mr. Buddy Fund" himself, Buddy Blattner was a blessing which continues to pay dividends to this day.

How significant is the impact of The Buddy Fund having at Gene Slay's Boys' Club of St. Louis?  85% of our youngsters live at or below the poverty level and can't afford bats, balls, gloves, basketballs or other equipment to be able to participate in our sports programs. The Buddy Fund is there, especially, for these needy kids!

By The Buddy Fund providing the sports equipment for our membership for all these years you are helping our club's staff keep these kids engaged in positive programs and activities while staying away from drugs, going to jail or worse.

We wish The Buddy Fund the best of luck with membership recruitment and corporate sponsorships!  


My best regards,

Tom Wild,

Executive Director

We are proud and honored to be able to help the Buddy Fund. I have been involved in the Ferguson baseball program for 18 years.  Having the support of the Buddy Fund is transparent to the kids in our program because all they know is they get to play baseball in our program.  The kids parents just know our program allows their kids to learn how to be a part of a team and understand how to be a team player.

I tell you this because the Buddy Fund allows us to keep our sign up fees as low as possible so the kids can be involved in our program.  The Buddy Fund supports us by donating all the baseballs we use every year.  If not for the donated baseballs it could mean possible adding 10 dollars to the sign up fees.  The added 10 dollars could mean some kids may not get to play baseball in our program.  We have many under privileged kids in the program.  Many of the parents are unable to find jobs so it is so very important we keep our fees as low as possible. 

I no longer coach a team as my kids are adults now.  When I did coach many of my players did not have a father  influence so I took many kids under my wing to help guide them.  We now have some of my players bringing their kids into the program.  I have seen how our program in many cases have helped to guide kids in the right direction and be roll models for other kids. 

I have no doubt the Buddy Fund has played such a huge role in helping these kids in their development.  Without the support many of these kids may not of been able to take part in our program and helped to be pointed in the right direction.

Donn H. Schmidt

Ferguson Youth Baseball Club

The Buddy Fund has helped our organization by allowing our residents to play sports and learn new activities. The Buddy Fund has donated lots of basketballs, soccer balls, and kick balls (to name a few) and has allowed us to provide the best Recreational activities possible. Through these Recreation activities, the residents learn sportsmanship, teamwork, and have an opportunity to cope with their emotions. The Buddy Fund has also given us shin guards and socks so our residents are able to participate in different Team Sports. We participate in a CHAMP (Children’s Home Activity Meet Program) Program and compete in various sports with other Children’s Homes around the St. Louis area.  With the proper equipment, the residents feel prepared and part of a team. Thank you, Buddy Fund for helping us help our youth!

Debbie Taylor

Epworth Children & Family Services

buddy fund testimonials

For a number of years, The Buddy Fund has helped the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Charles County by providing them with equipment to operate their sports programs.  We have also been afforded the opportunity to purchase quality sporting equipment at an extremely discounted price.

Many of the boys and girls served at the Boys & Girls Club of St. Charles County are considered to be "at risk" because of the poverty level in which they live.  Actually 74% of the children served at the Club in the "After School Program" fall in that category.  The children are provided a daily nutritious meal before they go home for the evening so we now that they have been fed.  It is hard for a child to concentrate in school as well as on the playing field if they are hungry and thinking about where and when they will receive their next meal.  The support we receive from The Buddy Fund allows us to free up money that

would be used to provide the necessary sporting equipment for our members.  It allows the Boys & Girls

Club to scholarship children whose parents are not in the position to fund the expenses incurred with

their child in the sports programs.  It is important that all children be equipped in a safe way to avoid any 

potential injury.  It is also important that children's self-esteem be elevated and they feel good about their 

appearance as a member of a team and to the people who have on interest in their future.

Crag Leavell- Executive Director

​Jeanette Koechner- Resource Development Director

The Buddy Fund donations of sporting goods and athletic equipment provides fresh perspectives and positive outlooks on the lives of the children at Great Circle and Boys & Girls Town of Missouri, St. James Campus.  Many of these children have never owned a basketball or soccer ball, so giving them an opportunity to own their very own, have pride in athletic play, exercise and take a break from their personal challenges, is a real gift.

The equipment offers therapy, a release from their problems and a chance to learn teamwork,

agility skills while developing self confidence.

These donations are a tresure!

Dave Martin

Great Circle

Meet Jerome (14), a six year member of Lift for Life Gym. Ever since Jerome arrived at the Gym at the age of 8, he's been a part of our Olympic Style Youth Weightlifting Team.  He's had many accomplishments over the years winning 50+ medals, 5 trophies and most recently, becoming the 6th ranked 17 & under weightlifter in the country! Jerome practices three to five times a week and continues to improve upon his skills in order to compete at such an elite level. Not only does weightlifting offer Jerome the opportunity to lean discipline, but it teaches him how to work hard, how to set goals and how to deal with both success and failure.

Thank you for your recent generous donation of 166 new sports equipment items from Markwort to Lift for Life Gym.  Your gift will ensure other kids, like Jerome, have access to a play they can feel safe, receive a fresh meal, participate in activities every child should be able to enjoy, and most importantly, somewhere they can create a future.

More than 90% of our youth members live in households below the poverty level. It's programs like our Evening Café that provide a free, nutritious meal each night, or our numerous fitness programs that foster confidence, instill discipline and encourage perseverance that help our youth members to make positive life choices.

Again, thank you for all you do for our kids. You are a part of their lives too. For more

information on Lift For Life Guy, or to read Jerome's full story visit our website at www.liftforlifegym.org.


Joseph Miller

Executive Director