Students from every school in the Elk Valley are playing with new sports equipment thanks to donations from Carolla’s Crue, a non-profit group in the community.
In the months of November and December, Carolla’s Crue donated $1,000 to every single school in the Elk Valley to put towards sports equipment.
“The Sparwood Elementary School, when we went there for an initial conversation with them about what they needed, they were using soccer and volley balls from when I was a kid 20 years ago,” recalled Daryl Guzzi, a member of Carolla’s Crue. “So they bought all new volleyballs.”
Along with the generous donations to all seven Elk Valley schools in Fernie, Elkford, Sparwood and Jaffary, the organization also supported some other community sports initiatives. The archery club in Sparwood was able to purchase new targets after a donation and the Elkford Secondary School senior boys basketball team got a boost on their trip to provincials last year.
Guzzi also explained a donation made to Fernie Minor Hockey. According to Guzzi, about seven or eight players were unable to afford track suits for the season, “so we made a deal and we sponsored one team for all their track suits and then Fernie Minor Hockey made sure every kid got a tracksuit.”
Carolla’s Crue is donating to youth sports because that’s exactly what Joe Carolla, the groups namesake would have wanted.
On March 27, 2018 Fernie and Sparwood local Joe Carolla passed away unexpectedly at the age of 36. Carolla’s Crue was started by friends as a way to honour Joe.
Carolla’s Crue director Liz Hey explained that the organization was started as a way to help with the grief of unexpectedly losing a friend and as a way “to honour Joe’s short life.”
“When Sheri Hartley, his girlfriend, decided that she wanted to start a non-profit society to honour Joe, we all decided to stand up with her and form Carolla’s Crue so that’s basically how we started,” she said. “He loved kids, he loved sports and he definitely loved hockey.”
The group was incorporated in May of 2018 and they’ve been fundraising ever since. Their biggest fundraiser was a cabaret and steak dinner held in Elkford last year.
“Our first major fundraiser was last year in Elkford and we had a steak supper, live auction and a live band and it went over really well,” said Hey.
The group raised approximately $10,000 at that event and it’s what they’ve been using to donate to the schools and sports organizations.
Next up for the crew is a hockey tournament in Carolla’s name for the Elk Valley Minor Hockey Association on January 11 to 12. The organization held a t-shirt design contest and will be printing the winning design on free shirts for all the kids participating in the tournament. They’ll also be collecting donation to help the next round of sports programs.
According to Hey, since their last round of donations, Carolla’s Crue has had requests from other groups.
“Once we do the Joe Carolla day we’ll see where we’re at to be able to help some of the other groups that are looking for funding.”