The motivation was dirty, smelly uniforms.
Linda Driscoll was speaking with a woman who coached high school basketball in Boston, who told her about those uniforms. A boys team would play first, then retreat to the locker room and hand over their uniforms — which obviously showed the effects of 32 minutes of basketball — to the girls team to wear in their game.
She decided to do something, and that turned into Dream Big!, a Boston-based nonprofit organization that seeks to empower girls through sports and physical activities, which she founded in 2010.
Over the last eight years, it has had an impact on more than 30,000 girls in 12 states and four countries. For its great work, Dream Big! is the winner of the 2017 Community Hero Editors’ Choice Globie Award.
The uniform story was just the beginning for Dream Big!.
“The need was so much greater than I anticipated,’’ said Driscoll. “Games were being canceled because girls didn’t have $15 shin guards. Girls were sitting on the sideline because they couldn’t afford the equipment or the fees to play.’’
Dream Big!’s effort to help outfit athletes and support programs continues through the generosity of people in Boston, especially the organization’s Boston Marathon team that raised $235,000 in pledges last April.
In addition, there are in-kind donations from sports apparel companies such as Nike and Adidas and corporate equipment drives hosted by many Boston-based companies. Last year alone, in-kind donations of new sports equipment, athletic footwear, and sports attire totaled over $250,000 for Dream Big!.
The Globies Editors’ Choice award is one of several chosen by the Boston Globe sports staff. Additional awards are determined by fan voting.