KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Any child can pick up a basketball, football or even a baseball, but what they do after that initial moment can determine what their future may look like. The bigger challenge is not every child’s access to sports is equal. It’s an issue that an organization known as the Center City Youth Sports Program aims to change in our community.

It’s an outlet that the board chair of CCYSP, Churchie Riley says is needed in the community, especially for kids that may find themselves always getting into trouble.

The pandemic also brought separate challenges that took everyone by storm. Little did Riley know, how badly it would affect many of the children after CCYSP was unable to provide as much as they were used to.

To get back to where they once were will take some time after not being fully funded for the last eight years and solely relying on donations to get by. They’ve had to continue reusing and refurbishing equipment and they’ve even had to cut back on how many teams they could offer.

Recently they were given a donation from Casey’s and Gatorade that will move things forward a little more quickly.

“This is the biggest donation we’ve ever received and it will help us buy much needed equipment,” Riley said.

That equipment will help athletes like eleven-year-old Elizabeth Dillon continue to play the sports that she loves without being looked past because of her disabilities.

“No one wanted to work with her because of her disabilities,” Amanda Dillion, Elizabeth’s mother said.

Seeing what CCYSP did for her daughter, she decided to not only cheer on Elizabeth as a parent, but continue to push her to be her best as a coach, something she’s able to do it for other kids as well.

CCYSP has a love for those in the community and Casey’s and Gatorade wanted to make sure the nonprofit could continue serving those who need them most. Anyone interested in making a donation to the nonprofit can contact Riley at the Cal Johnson building.