Sports Collection

October 2018 View more

Starting high school can be both an exciting and intimidating time. Teens are typically focused more on how their own lives are changing than with changing the lives of others. But Anuva Shandilya is not your typical teen. When she was starting high school three years ago, this Neuqua Valley student was intent on sharing her love of sports with impoverished children around the world.

Blending passion & altruism

“I absolutely love sports and am lucky enough to have grown up in a family who enabled me to try every sport I wanted,” she says. Shandilya, who was born in Denmark, and her family lived in England and Canada before moving to the United States in 2011. A seasoned traveler, Shandilya has visited 24 countries in her young life. “In my travels, the one constant I noticed was poverty. Seeing the poor conditions kids were living in, I realized how privileged I’ve been. I’ve always been one to try and create change, so I decided to share my love for sports with other kids and start Chance for Sports.” Volunteers at the local nonprofit collect used sports equipment and distribute it to children in need.

“I’m a firm believer that if you want to make a change, all you need is a little bit of courage and a lot of love,” Shandilya says. “I’ve always had this social activist streak. I knew going into high school that I wanted to do something. I started Chance for Sports not only to help other children, but to inspire those who are privileged into helping others too.”

Shandilya created a website and flyers at the beginning of her freshman year. When the school year ended, she and her younger brother Daksh began a door-to-door collection campaign.

“We probably only got 150 to 200 pieces of equipment that summer,” Shandilya explains. “I realized that if I wanted to make a bigger impact, I needed a team. So I recruited kids in my grade who I knew were hard workers and wanted to help others.”

Since then, Shandilya has established Chance for Sports chapters at Neuqua, Waubonsie, and Metea Valley High Schools, as well as a high school in India. With over 70 volunteers, they collect 200 to 300 pieces of sports equipment weekly. Chance for Sports also has a donation bin at Play It Again Sports in Naperville.

“People may find their stuff isn’t salable, but it definitely is usable,” Shandilya explains.

Seeking out those in need

Once equipment is collected, Shandilya finds places to donate it. “I’ll research local orphanages, schools, and organizations that help children and contact them. People have also reached out to us for donations.”

She has also made her dream of helping children internationally come true. Shandilya has found organizations with missions in other countries, and she brings donations along when she travels. “When I traveled to Mexico, I donated leotards to some aspiring gymnasts. This past summer I visited some schools in India and donated equipment. It was awesome.”

Over the past three years, Shandilya has spent more than 500 service hours supplying 3,500 pieces of equipment to 1,100 children. Despite heading off to college next year, she plans to keep the nonprofit running.

“My brother has been helping from the beginning, since he was 10 years old. When I go to college, he and his friends will maintain the Naperville/Chicago-area operation. Once I get settled, I’m hoping to establish a chapter at my college and take it from there,” Shandilya says.

There is no doubt that she will.

Items needed by Chance for Sports include soccer, basketball, tennis, badminton, baseball, and softball gear, plus athletic shoes/cleats and bicycles. To donate sports equipment or request donations on behalf of your organization, visit