JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A former coach is leading an effort to better a park in Duval County.
Omar Perez created an NFT project in the cryptocurrency world and started using the funds to help pay for children’s sports gear, and now, new bleachers at Argyle Athletic Association.
Perez and his team checked out the bleachers in the park and some didn’t have any wood, others were worn down and nowhere near good enough to sit on.
He decided he wanted to help build new bleachers around the baseball field at the park off Old Middleburg Road.
“By having bleachers alone it adds that value and makes it more comfortable for the audience to enjoy the game and support loved ones as they play,” Perez said.
But that’s not all Perez is doing. He’s already sponsored 10 kids’ participation costs, including equipment and registration fees.
Perez said the reason he choose to start the sponsorship with baseball was because he was a former softball coach at Oakleaf Junior High School. However, his team does plan on expanding the sponsorship to other sports in the future.
“We sponsor any sport, it doesn’t matter what sport you play, but as of now that’s where I started because that’s my realm: baseball and softball,” Perez said.
“You see a lot of kids don’t have the ability or the finances to play recreation ball. In the United States, an average cost is $200 and the economy goes down the first thing families cut is extracurricular activities,” Perez said.
Perez said what got him involved was passion.
“It’s been amazing. It’s well-received, you know. People always see things like this and it’s a good thing. It’s good for us. It’s good for the community. It’s good for the kids,” Perez said. “And those kids that didn’t have the opportunity to play, the parents are very grateful for it, so it’s very rewarding in itself.”
He said he’s also been able to buy equipment for some of the coaches, including a hitting net, heavy balls, cones, speed ladders, parachutes and exercise bands.
“Some little things that go a long way,” he said.
Perez said this is not the end of giving back. They will help out children for spring sports, too.
If all goes well, the NFTs or Non-Fungible Token a record associated with a digital or physical asset will sell, creating money from the cryptocurrency world and Web 3. It will help children in need, in the real world.