Sherman Oaks teen uses bar mitzvah project to raise money for sports nonprofit

SHERMAN OAKS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Landon Spencer from Sherman Oaks is getting ready for a significant moment in his life: his bar mitzvah, the Jewish religious ritual and family celebration commemorating the adulthood of a boy on his 13th birthday.

A key part of this coming-of-age event is giving back to a community. Spencer is doubling down with his goal of raising $18,000 for a nonprofit.

"We chose an organization called Every Kids Sports. The number one reason why underprivileged kids can't play sports is the fee to cover them and the equipment," said Spencer.

The Oregon-based nonprofit aims to pay sport registration fees for kids from low-income areas. Landon's goal would give the chance to about 125 kids to play a sport.

"That makes me feel great just to know that I am contributing to help other underprivileged kids that can't play the sport, knowing that they can play it now," said Spencer. "Because sports are a very big part of my life. I love playing sports, and I want other people to have a chance to play it and make more friends."

The nonprofit says they have seen a bigger need since the start of COVID.

"I think more than anything it's really cool seeing a kid have that sense of bigger than self about him," said Arch Fuston, board president of Every Kid Sports.

Part of a bar mitzvah is having a party, which has been postponed for now because of COVID. But the ceremony is still going to happen. Instead of presents, Landon is asking his friends and family for money to help him reach his goal.

"We've already hit $10,000. So we are very optimistic we will get to $18,000 by November," said Debbie Wacks, Landon's mother.

"Like if you get a new toy, it's shiny you play with it for a week then you get bored of it," said Landon. "This I know it will be a lasting thing that will help kids throughout their lives."

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