Thursday, June 5, 2014 | 2 a.m.
The idea came to Jordan Coppert three years ago in the aisles of a Nike outlet shop.
While Browsing the football cleats as he prepared for his sophomore year at Faith Lutheran High School, Coppert noticed the prices. He couldn’t believe something so essential to playing football could cost $150.
Coppert knows how important sports were to him. The offensive guard and middle linebacker had played football for four years; he wrestled and played basketball. Sports helped him overcome asthma; it taught him hard work, endurance and accountability. Sports shaped him.
He wondered how many children were left out of experiencing that because the equipment is so expensive.
“I looked around and I said to myself, ‘I wouldn’t be half the man I am today without my teammates and the lessons coaches have taught me,’” said Coppert, now a 17-year-old junior at Faith Lutheran. “I wanted to give that to someone else.”
It was then that he came up with the idea of collecting used sports equipment to donate to underprivileged children. After a meeting with the high school’s CEO Steven Buuck to garner support, he created Faith-Fuls.
The program involves collecting used sports equipment from coaches, classmates and the public. The equipment goes on the shelves of the Faith Lutheran Thrift Store at 4530 Meadows Lane and the school receives the proceeds.
But the program is more than just about equipment, it’s offering children a chance to experience sports.
“Sports teach you hard work, endurance, camaraderie,” Coppert said. “Even more than that, it has taught me accountability and kept me away from drugs and alcohol.”
His parents weren’t surprised their son had taken such a hands-on approach. His mother and father tried to instill an entrepreneurial mentality in their son, who’s already developed a couple ideas for a company and created a Google Glass app development program at school.
“He’s always thinking,” said Milana Coppert, Jordan’s mother. “He wants to start his own business one day ... That’s what Jordan does, he always looks for opportunity.”
For the past three years, Coppert has juggled football, homework and Faith-Fuls. He’s collected everything from baseball bats to golf bags to tennis rackets — even an ice pick. Last year, the program made $2,500 for the school.
He’s collected so much that the thrift store dedicated Aisle 17 to the used gear.
Recently, Coppert reached out to Under Armor and applied for its Thirds Program to receive overstocked equipment, netting $15,000 of equipment for Coppert’s cause.
To pass out that overstocked apparel to as many children as possible, Coppert organized Faith Community Day, which will be June 14 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The day will include 40-yard dashes and other activities for the children to earn the equipment — everyone will receive a prize for participating, he said. He also partnered up with Starbucks, Albertsons and the Cracked Egg to supply food for the free event.
The event is just the beginning. Never one to settle, Coppert has been brainstorming ways he can spread the sports equipment to more children. He has thought about doing equipment drops at low-income schools and expanding to two community days a year.
One day, he envisions the program to continue long after he’s left for college.
“This is by no means going to end when I graduate,” Coppert said. “This is something I want to continue to keep running and pass the baton to someone else in the community.”