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Marnie Schneider, Using Sports To Help Kids Thrive


By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (CBS) -- Marnie Schneider grew up loving sports.  Her late grandfather, Leonard Tose, was once owner of the Philadelphia Eagles.

"Sports was my life," she says.  "Sports gave me everything -- every opportunity."

(Leonard Tose and his granddaughter, in family photo provided by Marnie Schneider)

So, this Southern California resident decided to give back.  She teamed up with Jazmin Erving, daughter of former pro basketball player Julius Erving, and the two did their homework on how to use their love of sports to help others.

"We wanted to help underserved children that are in strong mentoring programs," says Schneider.  "We realized they had a great opportunity to go to those places like the Boys and Girls Club to play, but they didn't get to take home the ball."

So, they started "Grab a Ball & Play," a group that gives free balls to children involved in programs across the country.

In less than six months, the fledgling nonprofit organization has raised enough money to donate nearly two thousand soccer balls, footballs, and basketballs in communities across the country.

Schneider says they've donated an additional 900 balls to Philadelphia's Police Athletic League.

"I like to joke that the Philadelphia police have a lot of balls, and they certainly do," says the Penn State grad, noting that both she and Erving still have strong ties to Philadelphia.  "Our hope is that by getting these children into sports, it will encourage them to become active and healthy members of the community."

3 pal
(Photo provided by Marnie Schneider)


She says the 900 soccer balls will be used in PAL's spring clinic.  And she says if more kids participate, they'll give more balls.

"We'll just pound the court, hit the turf, and make sure they have as many balls as they need," says the single mother of three children.

As for why she does it... well, she says, sports built her life and maybe, just maybe, it'll do the same for someone else.

"It's the mind, body and spirit that really all are nourished," she says.

To buy a virtual ball or to donate, go to


"Caring Community" main page


Follow Cherri Gregg on Twitter: @cherrigregg
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