Former South Carolina middle distance runner David Olds always made time, not just on the track, but in taking time to serve others. The 2022 SEC Brad Davis Male Community Service Leader of the Year honoree moved up to Boston after graduating in May to work at the non-profit, Good Sports, Inc., where he is making a difference in the lives of children on a daily basis.
“Our mission is to drive sports equity and opportunity for young people and communities that are high need,” said Olds, who graduated in May with a degree in political science and geography. “We do that by donating brand new sports equipment to those communities to support their chance to participate in sports and receive all the benefits that come with being involved in sports.
“We have partners such as Nike, Under Armour, New Balance, and some professional sports teams that will donate equipment and money to us so that we can get it into these communities. We cover all ages. It’s for kids ages three to eighteen.”
While he’s working in the northeast, Good Sports is a national organization with a large reach and allows him to still make a difference in his home state of North Carolina as well as the South Carolina community that was a big part of his life for four years.
“We do have community organizations that we support in North Carolina and South Carolina,” said Olds. “One of the things that I’m really excited about is that I’m able to use my connections from South Carolina and North Carolina and get Good Sports involved in those areas and have more touch points in the communities that I belonged to or that my friends and mentors belonged to, in order to get sports equipment to places that I feel a close connection.”
“That’s what it’s all about to me; being a blessing to others where others have been a blessing to you.”
Olds’ service to his community goes all the way back prior to his attending South Carolina and being a member of the track and field team. He founded “Wiley’s Warriors” while in high school to raise awareness of childhood hunger and organized food drives in the area by assisting Calvin Wiley Elementary in Greensboro. At South Carolina, Olds was the Community Service Chair for the Gamecock Athletics Student-Athlete Advisory Council and was the lead volunteer coordinator for the City of Columbia Complete Count Committee for the 2020 Census, worked with the Columbia Urban League Young Professionals (CULYP), managed student-athlete volunteers to polling places to pass out water and food, volunteered with the Out of the Garden Project in Greensboro where he helped pack and distribute food to families, and assisted with ‘mobile fresh food markets’ to reach and distribute to families in food deserts with fresh produce and food items. He also volunteered at Homeless No More and served meals at the Oliver Gospel Men’s Center.
His consistency in service has turned into a career.
“Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be involved with social impact or a community service role, but to also intersect it with sports,” Olds said. “Good Sports seemed like a perfect opportunity for me. Being involved in sports my entire life, I’ve seen the benefits of leadership, having role models, and learning how to work with a team. My whole life has been guided by sports. I know that there a lot of people who benefit from sports and others should have that opportunity for sports, but there are barriers that prevent them for taking part. I wanted to return those opportunities to the communities that made me who I am today.
“That’s what it’s all about to me; being a blessing to others where others have been a blessing to you. It has really come full circle where I can help people in an area that I’ve been helped my whole life.”
While some people struggle in their first job out of college, Olds is taking a lot of satisfaction in his first career opportunity.
“We provide the sports equipment to the sports programs, the schools, the Boys & Girls Clubs, and the variety of organizations we support,” Olds said. “We’re based in Boston, but we’re a nationwide-serving organization. Because of that, we don’t often see the community organizations that we support, but we get a lot of feedback about the donations and the impact it has had on the kids who are now participating in sports. It can be as simple as hearing about the young girls who finally get their own sports bra so they can feel comfortable and confident while they’re playing sports, or the kid who never had his own shoes before is able to get on the basketball court and feel like they belong.”