'Cleats for Kids' initiative looks to support children in need of soccer equipment

Published June 30, 2020 5:57 p.m. ET
Updated June 30, 2020 9:14 p.m. ET

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TORONTO -- Dovelin Hawthorne has an extra bounce in his step these days.

The York Regional Police detective constable has launched an online challenge to collect soccer cleats for kids in his hometown of Hanover, Jamaica. 

“The genesis of this started a few weeks ago,” Det. Hawthorne told CTV News Toronto. “I was grieving the loss of my father who passed away in April. My mother was buried exactly one year earlier on the same day.”

His pain spawned perspective. A trip to the park to clear his mind provided Hawthorne with clarity and inspiration. 

“I had a soccer ball with me and I decided to juggle it. I asked my wife to record it. I was able to juggle it 75 times so I put it online and I’m asking people to try and beat my record and donate new or used cleats for youth in Jamaica.”

Prior to immigrating to Canada in 1992, Det. Hawthorne vividly remembers his own youth playing soccer barefoot on fields of concrete. 

“My father actually didn’t like soccer but he believed in being charitable. Soccer is all about teamwork. I’m hoping these kids can learn that lesson and take it forward in their lives. I cannot do all the good the world needs. But the world needs all the good I can do.”

The “Cleats for Kids” initiative will continue until July 31 and people are encouraged to post their videos on York Regional Police’s social media pages. Drop boxes for cleats are available at York Regional Police Headquarters in Aurora (47 Don Hillock Drive) and at District 5 at 8700 McCowan Road 

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