Building Community Relationships and Getting Free Stuff For Your PE Program

By Steve Lightman

pe professional development

You know what’s super neat? Getting free stuff for your Physical Education program at school! What do you mean FREE stuff? I mean, free stuff!!  Hockey sticks, jump ropes, balls, shirts, golf clubs and balls, and baseball equipment. For free. All of it. And did I mention experiences too? Over the next couple paragraphs I’m going to tell you a little about me and my passions, and then explain how you can do it.

The first thing I’d suggest is you sign up for my course on the PE Central online learning platform at

You’ll learn everything in the class – how to talk to community partners, how to become a better member of your PTA, how to write an effective letter, and how to build a business card to look like a professional.

Lack of Equipment

A little about me – I’ve been teaching PE for 20 years in Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C. When I first started teaching, I didn’t have a gym so I never really thought about why I needed better stuff. And then I transferred to a school with a gym and thought I hit the jackpot  Boy was I wrong. When I left that school, we had 4 footballs, 5 basketballs, some jump ropes, and a ball cart that was literally falling apart.  I thought to myself, this can not happen to anyone ever again.


I began searching for who could help teachers that were in the same predicament that I was in. I reached out to friends that worked in local recreation departments to put me in touch with their community partners to see if they could help out. I started looking online for people that donated equipment. And lastly, I learned how to navigate professional and college websites to see if they ran community programs.

Success with Community Programs

After a year or two, I had $3000 from Gilbert Arenas’s Scores for Schools Program, free tickets to Washington Wizards and Capitals games, Orioles tickets WITH transportation and food for my families, and I had formed partnerships and relationships with community organizations. I formed bonds with these partners and they started calling me to do things – go on the field at a Washington Nationals game, go on the court to a Washington Wizards game, and others.  

These things are all possible for your students! Don’t settle for being an average PE teacher or someone that comes in at 8 and leaves at 4.

Professional Development

Take my online PD course and learn how to work with your community so you can give your students opportunities that no one else in your area is doing. There is no better feeling than knowing you are doing things that everyone else wishes they were doing. And you’re doing it for FREE!

pe program PD

Submitted by: Steve Lightman, Montgomery County (MD) Public Schools 

Contact: [email protected]

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