Giving back during the holidays: Oakland Warthogs Youth Rugby

The gluttony of Thanksgiving day is over, and today, the gluttony of the holiday shopping season begins. Hopefully, you’re planning on spending at least some of that money at local businesses.

But during the holiday season, it’s good to take some time out from buying presents for our friends and family, and remember to help those less fortunate. There are all sorts of worthy organizations doing excellent work here in Oakland that could do a lot of good with a small donation from you, and over the next few weeks, I hope to highlight a number of them here.

Today, I’ll start with Oakland Warthogs.

While there is plenty of debate about what the City should do about it, few people dispute that there is a shortage of productive activities available to youth in Oakland. One of the local organizations trying to do something about that is Oakland Warthogs Youth Rugby. They’ve recently put together a little documentary illustrating the positive influence rugby can have on the kids they play with, and if you have a couple of free minutes today, I recommend watching it, because it is quite heartwarming.

If you made it to the end, you saw the pitch for donations. If you didn’t, well, here’s the text version from their website:

At a time when cities and schools have almost eliminated recreation and sports programs, the Oakland Warthogs Youth Rugby Program is stepping up and offering young men a tremendous opportunity, not just for sports but for life. Through intense fundraising we are able to offer virtually no-cost participation because we are passionate about teaching kids the ultimate team game, which emphasizes sportsmanship, courage, speed, skill, tenacity and communication. While teaching the game we are also teaching life skills, striving for a 100-percent graduation rate. We want to get our kids to a higher level, whether in college or the work force…All of our coaching staff either live or work in Oakland. It is because of our ties to the community that we are committed to the short and long term goal of producing confident, accomplished athletes and confident accomplished citizens.

Whatever you can give helps. $20 buys one of the players a ball, $40 buys them a pair of cleats. A $100 donation covers a season’s worth of registration fees, and $200 buys one of the kids a year’s worth of health insurance. $500 gets the team a real field to play their games on, and $5,000 covers a place to practice for a whole year. (Securing a practice field has been a longstanding problem for the team.)

Small donations add up to make a big difference in the lives of these kids, so if you support the work this organization is doing, I encourage you to click through to the Warthogs website and give what you can (scroll down towards the bottom of the front page for the donation link).

2 thoughts on “Giving back during the holidays: Oakland Warthogs Youth Rugby

  1. Daniel Schulman

    I don’t really know much about the Warthogs other than reading about them on this blog. They seem like a great organization that provides meaningful change in the lives of youth.

    Thanks V for reminding us of some of the positive things happening around the city. I am in for a donation, and I look forward to hearing more about the success of the Warthogs and their alums in the future.

  2. Mike Spencer

    V. and others, thank you for the support. As one of the coaches of the Warthogs our mission and philosophy are pretty simple: occupy teen-age boys in a healthy and productive way. These kids do not get the same sports experience as their peers in the suburbs. We take them to colleges too to get them thinking about life outside of Oakland. We are about as grassroots as it gets and are a registered non-profit. Happy Holidays.