27 teams of boys and girls ages 5 to 14 make up the Southern California Junior All-American Football and Cheer organization and Desert Hot Springs is just one of the many teams in need of help.
"We are nonprofit,” said Desert Hot Springs Chapter President Mike Goss. “All of us here that are assisting with the football leagues, we’re all volunteers. Basically, we rely on fundraising and sponsorships."
Clothing drives, barbeques, and car shows are just a few examples of fundraisers Desert Hot Springs have done to raise funds for equipment and sponsorships.
"We just had purchased helmets for the kids, all brand-new shirts." Goss said.
Because safety is the number one priority when it comes to kids playing tackle football.
"We spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on new equipment every year and re-certifying equipment just to make sure we have the top of the line stuff,” explained Goss. “Same thing as even NFL players are wearing to this day and of course these kids aren’t really hitting that hard or anything like that. But they’re still out there having fun and playing the sport."
The kids gain more than just a fun experience.
"You get to meet a lot of new people and you get to take out your aggression and stuff like that,” 13-year-old quarterback Quinton Latham said. “You get to go around, play new teams and challenge yourself."
"To have fun and you could give them support,” 8-year-old cheerleader Ashley Morin explained. “It just gets me excited."
"We get to teach them basic loyalty,” Goss explained. “Problem solving and even leadership which will actually work out for the long run on them because they can take that even further. They can push that towards the community as well in a positive manner."