Photo credit: Anna Pikus
By Steve Sears
Two 11th graders, Kunal Kumar of The Academy for Math, Science, and Engineering, and friend Allen Pikus, a Morris Knolls High School student, have formed Hustle2Heart, whose (from the website) primary objective is to create a pathway to athletic success for underprivileged and low-income kids by providing them athletic resources and opportunities they normally do not have access to. We will host donation drives, organize sports clinics, and foster a community through sports.
Hustle2Heart is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
“We started in our freshman year of high school,” says Pikus who, along with Kumar, played on the same sports teams in elementary and middle school. Both lived the benefits of doing so, and wanted to pass that on, especially to underprivileged youths and those from low-income families. “When we entered high school, we both began to volunteer at a place called the Neighborhood House in Morristown. We would help with tutoring all the kids there. Actually, the Neighborhood House is a place for underprivileged kids to go because their parents can’t look after them after school because their parents are involved with work, etcetera.” While both volunteered, they noticed the kids didn’t get much physical sports activity.
They saw the apparent need. Coining their endeavor Hustle2Heart, the goal is to embody the relationship of sports and the mind. “We believe that having a healthy body leads to a healthy mind,” says Kumar, “so we called it Hustle2Heart because we were really focused on not just providing these kids the opportunity to play sports for the first time, but also helping them have an outlet because they sometimes have an undesirable situation at home, and it gives them a chance to find a skill and find something to be passionate about.”
The duo reached out to Dick’s Sporting Goods and the New York Knicks, both organizations providing respectively soccer balls and autographed basketballs. “As a 501(c)(3),” says Kumar, “this allows them to share their equipment with us and to provide donations that we can then use to help the underprivileged kids as part of donations or as part of the clinics. Our 501(c)(3) status elevated us and gave us the potential to help these kids and give them a chance to expand something like they’ve never expanded before.” The New York Jets provided posters which the duo hope to in the future auction off, the monies raised to be used to purchase more sports equipment for Hustle2Heart’s use.
Hustle2Heart has primarily focused on Morris County because they have seen up close the need. However, they also worked with two New York-based organizations, the Harlem Education Activities Fund (HEAF) and The Association to Benefit Children (ABC). With the former they organized a field day in the summer of 2019, and the second soccer clinics, the kids taking part extremely receptive. “As for our overall goals,” says Kumar, “we hope to expand in New Jersey and also in New York, and really help a lot of people who really suffer from not having the adequate resources to succeed. Right now, we’re really involved in our own community, but we hope to expand to other communities as well and create a community of our own and help these young kids.”
If interested in helping out or for more information, visit www.hustle2heart.org. If you have used or unused sports equipment that your family has outgrown, contact Kumar and Pikus at firstname.lastname@example.org.