AOK Lamar Youth Wrestling Grant Appreciation Letter

Mother Teresa once said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.”

AOK Lamar Youth Wrestling (AOK LYW) formed to give children an opportunity to grow in confidence, mental and physical strength, and self-worth.  AOK LYW wants to “feed” those children that have little opportunity for this growth.  Lamar, MO is a rural community that has a wide socio-economic population.  This routinely leads to children that have few options to participate in extracurricular activities due to the cost.

AOK LYW wanted to change this by giving each child the opportunity to participate in a sport that could highlight his/her individual efforts while teaching them the life lessons that few other sports can offer.  Most of all the leadership of AOK LYW wants to give each child the opportunity to participate for little-to-no cost through his/her individual fund-raising efforts.  Through these efforts we aspired to raise enough money to cover the costs of those children in need, but first give each one of them an opportunity to earn the money necessary to compete.  We continue to lead by example in teaching self-reliance first just as we learn on the mat, then giving a helping hand up when needed.  “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, but teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”  This is a lesson that we hope will stay with these children for all of their lives.

With this in mind, AOK LYW quickly realized that we were going to come up short on the funds necessary to purchase a mat for our new program.  We needed a hand up to get started.  This is where R.E.A.C.H.E.S. stepped in to help.  R.E.A.C.H.E.S. (Rewarding Educational Athletic Choices Helping Each Sport) is a non-profit organization founded to promote, protect and preserve the integrity of amateur athletics by providing athletic and educational opportunities to all athletes of all ages and abilities.  

After sending a letter to their Board of Directors explaining our situation and desires to give back to our community the Executive Director, Walt Fisk, contacted us.  We had an in-depth conversation about our two organizations and the history of giving by R.E.A.C.H.E.S.  Our needs for a new wrestling mat was far greater than R.E.A.C.H.E.S. had given in the past.  However, Mr. Fisk saw the impact it could have on a new generation of youth for years to come and decided to go back and speak with his Board of Directors.

I am happy to announce that R.E.A.C.H.E.S. donated a brand new mat to AOK Lamar Youth Wrestling and our inaugural season was able to start on November 1, 2021.  The excitement around this program was instantaneous throughout our community.  AOK LYW started its inaugural season with 72 children from grades K-8.  We continue to grow as children share the fun they are having with their friends, and it has prompted us to find additional temporary mats to meet our needs.  It’s a great problem to have!  For more information on AOK Lamar Youth Wrestling please visit:


Rewarding Educational Athletic Choices Helping Each Sport is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2007 in an effort to promote, protect and preserve the integrity of amateur athletics by providing athletic and educational opportunities to all athletes of all ages and abilities.

This unique experience will provide educational, technical, and lifelong lessons for athletes, coaches, parents and fans that seek to capture meaningful, compassionate, harmonious, interesting and active lives.

All profits from R.E.A.C.H.E.S., will be used to support specific needs in each sport to ensure future generations of athletes, fans, parents and coaches will continue to learn from valuable lifelong athletic lessons.