Last weekend a group of area youths spent a portion of their Saturday volunteering at the Ardmore Animal Shelter. The boys are members of Warriors for the Community, a nonprofit 501(c)3. The organization focuses on creating a positive environment for area youth through sports and community service.
Program Director and Head Coach Josiah Reed said the boys helped with paperwork, swept and mopped a large portion of the facility, and bathed as many dogs as they could within the span of two hours. Both the students and the animals enjoyed the experience, and they even took some of the dogs running on nearby trails.
“I know they had a blast because they stayed off their phones, and that’s not something you see very often in 2020,” Reed said. “I didn’t even have to ask them. They just knew that they had come to do a job, help the community and get to work. Even when they did pull them out it was just to take pictures with all the dogs.”
While the Warriors regularly do various volunteer projects, Reed said the group’s primary activity is playing seven on seven football. The hours of practicing and traveling to tournaments create excellent opportunities for mentorship and provide a positive outlet for the boys energy and talents.
Reed said his father, Jeff Reed, co-founded the organization in 2017 for this very purpose.
“My dad wanted to help kids and give them something to do,” Reed said. “There are a lot of talented athletes from the area, but sometimes once the sports stop they don’t know what to do with themselves. That’s when they can end up getting into trouble.”
He said the Warriors participated in about half a dozen competitions in the DFW area last year. They planned to go to Houston this weekend, but the tournament has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Reed said these tournaments expose the boys to a different talent pool than what they experience playing on their school teams.
“They just have a much larger talent pool to draw from,” Reed said. “Every time we go down there we’re up against Division I athletes. We’re getting experience we might not see in the state, let alone our area.”
Reed said the Warriors range in age from 11 to 18. Though all members are currently students at Ardmore, the group is open to youth from across the region, and students from Lone Grove and Madill have participated in years past.
For more information about Warriors for the Community visit www.facebook.com/wftcinc. Those interested in becoming a part of the organization can also use the site to get in touch with Coach Reed.