This is a printer-friendly version of an article from Zip06.com.Article Published May 21, 2020
When Keldon LaRose was a senior captain on the Guilford High School wrestling team during the 2018-’19 season, he wanted to figure out a way to give back to the community through the sport he loves. That’s when LaRose established a charity called Pinning Poverty.
The Pinning Poverty charity provided an avenue for each wrestler on the team to invite family and friends to sponsor them. Each sponsor could donate between $1 and $5 for every pin that one of Guilford’s athletes earned against his or her opponents. The wrestlers could have as many people as they wanted sponsor them and, by the end of the season, the Indians had raised $3,500.
The proceeds were given to two community charity organizations—the Guilford Food Bank and the Women & Family Life Center. Both organizations provide food, supplies, and even skill workshops to assist people who are in difficult circumstances.
This past season, Keldon’s sister, Londyn LaRose, wanted to follow in her brother’s footsteps, so she took over the Pinning Poverty program. Londyn, a junior at Guilford High School, has been the manager of the wrestling team for the past three years. She tabulated the Indians’ statistics throughout the season, including each and every one of their pinfall victories.
“My role this year was to carry on what my brother started,” says Londyn. “I kept track of the number of pins the wrestlers earned each week. I would then send updates to their sponsors. It was always fun to get return texts from them with kind words and encouragement for the wrestlers that I could pass on to our team.”
Londyn and her fellow members of the Guilford wrestling program turned in impressive effort by raising $2,100 on behalf of Pinning Poverty this year. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indians had to make some modifications to the way those donations were given to the charities.
“Thankfully, our season ended before the coronavirus struck, so we weren’t affected that way. However, when it came to our donations to the charities, we had to make some changes,” Londyn says. “Last year, our team went to Big Y and loaded up numerous shopping carts with food and various supplies to take to the food bank. This year, to follow the city regulations concerning the coronavirus, just six of us, including [Head] Coach [Craig] Vedrani, showed up to Big Y with our masks, stayed six feet apart, and purchased 60 $25 gift cards, instead of loading up shopping carts.”
From there, the team delivered the gift cards to the Guilford Food Bank. For the Women & Family Life Center, the Indians presented a check to Dawn Jackson, the development director for the center.
Londyn anticipates that the Pinning Poverty charity will be able to raise even more money next year. She is hoping that other high schools in the area will start up a similar charity of their own.
“Our total money raised these past two wrestling seasons is over $5,600. We are planning on continuing our fundraising next year and would love to see more people sponsor our wrestlers,” says Londyn. “Our big goal is to see other schools implement this charity in their own communities. Like my brother Keldon said, ‘Wrestling will come and go, but poverty will always be here.’ It’s up to us to make a difference in the lives of those who need it.”
Londyn says that she feels blessed to have taken over her brother’s role with Pinning Poverty. She feels proud of everyone on the team who worked hard both on and off the mat to raise money for people in need. Among Guilford’s biggest contributors, junior Kyle Putnam had 16 pins on the year, sophomore Christopher Murphy recorded 15 wins via pin, junior Robert Masotti notched 12 pinfall victories, and senior captain Anthony Bomgardner won 11 bouts on a pin. As a team, the Indians posted 214 total pins on the season.
“It is an absolute honor to be a part of this and to have raised a good amount of money to help assist people in real need,” Londyn says. “I am very proud of all our wrestlers who I know worked very hard to earn as many pins as they could. The team had a number of key injuries this season that impacted our total amount of pins, but despite that, they still persevered.”