The following article was posted to the FedEx pilots’ magazine:
Kids Playing for Kids
|In the course of day to day business, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that we are fortunate to enjoy the lives we have, and that we are surrounded by so many exemplary individuals. One such individual is Jan Tavrytzky, an F/O on the MD-11. Jan came to FedEx in Feb 1996. He was initially a B727 S/O and check airmen, and has been a Memphis-based MD11 F/O since. Prior to coming to FedEx, Jan served in the US Air Force, graduating from the Air Force Academy in 1986 where he played football. As you will see, sports have continued to play a major role in his life. Jan has had a distinguished career, serving in the United States Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves. He brought the “Fighter Pilot for a Day” program to his Air National Guard squadron, allowing chronically and terminally ill children to come to the base, where they were given a callsign, wings, and flight suit. During the day they were allowed to experience being in a jet and simulator, and generally received VIP treatment.In Jan’s own words, ”I enjoyed playing sports, specifically football, and being able to play at the Air Force Academy. The things I learned on the field have been very helpful in becoming a successful person and pilot. I have been coaching soccer for my twin boys, Tyler & Tanner, since they were 3 years old. As I’ve coached them in soccer and football over the years, we have enjoyed success on the field including many championship teams. I wanted to teach the kids something more than just being successful on the field. I really wanted to teach them the things that I had learned over the years. I believed success off the field was based on building their character, which would make them successful in whatever they would choose to do in the future. Consequently, the idea to start our Kids Playing For Kids Foundation https://www.kidsplayingforkids.org/ came into being.” Jan says, “How can I be a better coach and how can I teach the kids that there is a bigger picture and they can make a difference in it?” Jan decided to contact Phoenix Children’s Hospital to see if his soccer team could “adopt” a chronically ill child. That was the beginning of an idea that is continuing to grow.
Kids Playing For Kids enables those who are dedicated — not only to build their skills on the field — but to build their character by providing friendship, joy, and hope for children with life-threatening medical conditions. They provide the infrastructure to adopt a child as part of a sports team of their choice and surround the child with a team of kids of their age and gender, who will hopefully help them overcome their particular challenges. These children will be the recipient of a gift from the team children. By putting the needs of their adopted teammate before their own, they will learn the importance of service before self. Confidence is gained by realizing that they can raise money, spend time, share their heart, and ultimately accomplish something “bigger than themselves.” By reaching out, identifying, and understanding their adopted teammate’s feelings and difficulties, the children will learn the importance of having empathy for others. All money donated goes directly to the family of the chronically/seriously ill child involved in the Kids Playing for Kids program. Typically this means granting a gift and/or wish for the child as well as helping with overwhelming medical expenses. Kids Playing for Kids has no paid staff. Incidental expenses for event planning and promotion are paid from private funds so that you can be certain your money will be used for the purpose intended.
1. All donations are tax deductible and will be acknowledged promptly with a donation receipt.
Though donations are accepted, the PRIMARY reason of this article is to let all of you know about this organization and get more pilots involved who are already in youth sports. This may be just the idea you needed to take your program to the next level.