COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — ‘Name, Image, and Likeness’ has been a polarizing topic in collegiate sports, but one Ohio State athlete is using her reach to make sure a group of central Ohio students have the means to take the next step forward.
“It’s so nice to be able to talk to these little kids and give them hope and bring back to the community,” beams Emma Goldean, a 5th-year senior for the Ohio State field hockey team.
As a collegiate field-hockey player, Goldean has set many goals on the field. But now, she has an even bigger goal off of it. “When I first heard about the NIL stuff coming out, I just kind of like waited around,” Goldean explains. “[ I ] didn’t find anything that I felt was good for me.”
But after connecting with Samaritan’s Feet, Goldean knew their mission was one she wanted to be a part of. “A non-profit organization where I can give back to the community? After I’ve been given so much?” recalls Golden of her thought process.
On Monday morning, the Buckeye midfielder helped fit and distribute nearly 630 pairs of brand-new shoes for the students at Stiles Elementary School in Columbus. A donation that wouldn’t have been possible without her partnership with the non-profit.
“We’re given gear — we’re given turf shoes, sneakers. We’re given all this stuff, and we’re like, ‘Oh, this is awesome,'” Goldean explains. “Each year we get new stuff and [ there are ] kids that don’t even have shoes, like good shoes to run around in.”
Many NIL deals see athletes receive money or other benefits in exchange for endorsing a product or service. Goldean chose another route.
“Emma has chosen an inverse, where she’s supporting Samaritan’s Feet by raising funds for us, so that we can buy shoes to give to underserved communities. So, it’s a very different relationship,” details Kathy Slyder, the Regional Manager in Sports Initiative Development for Samaritan’s Feet.
In addition to new shoes, Goldean and her teammates gave each student a “Hope Tote” — including socks, a hygiene kit, and an encouraging message written from someone around the world.
“We have a great student population, many of them come from communities that need a little extra help. And we rally around our students a lot, but sometimes we need some extra help,” explains Daniel Peters, the Stiles Elementary Principal.
So far, Emma has raised $60,000 of her $100,000 goal for the year. “I’ll be working with Samaritan’s Feet, hopefully, for years to come,” Goldean emphasizes. “I have a lifetime goal of around $600,000.”
But, when I ask her what’s next, she says it’s only a small chunk of a much bigger commitment. “It’s one thing to donate and give your money, which is amazing,” Goldean smiles. “But to be able to come here and see that money at work and to see the smile on their face and brighten their day? It’s awesome. I love it so much and I’m so blessed.”
Since they were founded in 2003, Samaritan’s Feet and its partners have served more than nine million people in over 100 countries and more than 500 U.S. cities.