BEND, Ore. –On Dec. 14, 2012 — tragedy struck at Sandy Hook Elementary School, when 20 kids and six adults were shot and killed.

Six-year-old Jack Pinto was one of them.

“It’s helpful for us to remember that not just bad things happen, there’s plenty of people out there that do good things,” said Jack’s father, Dean Pinto.

Now, almost one year after their son was taken, Tricia and Dean Pinto are honoring Jack in the best way they know how: through his love of sports.

“They actually found us back in June,” said Natalie Hummel, director of KIDS in the GAME, a Bend-based non-profit providing underprivileged children with financial help to play sports.

“I got an email one day from Tricia Pinto, just giving us a little bit of background. And having a 6-year-old son myself, I broke into tears just reading the email,” Hummel said Wednesday.

After months of planning, the Pintos and KIDS in the GAME are honoring Jack by launching a national awareness and fundraising campaign.

“There’s so many stories of how he stood above other people, not just with his athleticism but with his compassion for other people,” Hummel said. “And that’s why they were so compelled to do something to help other kids, because that was Jack’s nature.”

To kick off the campaign, the Pintos pledged a donation to the organization in Jack’s honor.

While the organization has not revealed the amount, they do say it’s the largest single donation in the history of KIDS in the GAME.

“I believe in the core of my heart that every kid who wants to play sports, gets the chance to play sports,” Hummel said. “And today, 62 percent of kids don’t play — and the No. 1 reason is, they can’t afford it.

Now, thanks to the Pintos’ donation, 400 kids can make it to the playing field.

Tricia Pinto said, “The mission statement and what KIDS in the GAME does, what they strive to do and what they’re passionate about doing is completely 100 percent in line with who Jack was, and it just felt right to us.”

The donation will allow children across the country to keep Jack’s spirit alive through sports.

“More than anything, its so meaningful to get the chance to do something positive from something that was so tragic,” Hummel said.

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