Senior Kelly Heney Organizes Sports Equipment Drive to Benefit Youth in Dominican Republic

Senior Kelly Heney, of Douglas, MA, has known for a while that she wanted to do something impactful to leave her mark at Marianapolis. She decided to combine her love of softball and her Dominican heritage to collect softball and baseball equipment to be donated to local youth sports in the Dominican Republic.

“I wanted to do something that was a little bit different and would make more of a personal impact,” Kelly said. Kelly’s mother Carlixta is originally from the Dominican Republic. Through family members, Carlixta was connected with Frank Medina of Club Deportivo y Cultural Los Saludables, INC in Santo Domingo. The organization aims to keep local youth off of the dangerous streets through participation in sports.

In the late fall, Kelly began collecting equipment at Marianapolis. To cover the cost to ship the items, she held bake sales. As captain of the softball team this year, Kelly wanted to get her team involved as a way to bond before the season began.

“One of the biggest reasons I wanted to do this was my team,” she said. “I feel like the softball team hasn’t had as many traditions in the past and I thought it would be nice to instill some traditions before I graduate.”

In the end, Kelly was able to fill four large boxes with equipment which included more than 20 bats, 25 gloves, two sets of catcher’s equipment, helmets, cleats, and sneakers. Over March break, Kelly, her mother, and brother Philip ’21 traveled to the Dominican Republic to visit family, but also to ensure that the equipment was delivered.

“It was hard to see the fields they play on and their conditions,” Kelly said. “As a softball player you go to a certain field and think oh this field isn’t great, but their baseball fields are complete dirt and have barbed wire on top of the walls. Sometimes you don’t realize how lucky your life is compared to somebody else.”

She also explained that the hardest part was that there wasn’t enough equipment to give something to every child. “All of the boys were so excited to get the stuff,” she said. “It was worth it just to see their faces.”

Kelly hopes that this tradition will continue with the softball team after she graduates. “I would love to thank those who helped me make this possible, especially those who donated, my team, and my family. I feel it’s important to give credit, especially to the Marianapolis community, since I had a lot of help making this possible,” she said.