Kindness Matters Foundation game has meaning on and off the court

Dennis Pleuss
Jeffco Public Schools
Posted 11/29/21

LAKEWOOD — The memory and spirit of Mackenzie Forrest is still strong in the Jeffco community. Girls basketball teams from Lakewood, Green Mountain, D’Evelyn and Ralston Valley came together Nov. …

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Kindness Matters Foundation game has meaning on and off the court

Posted

LAKEWOOD — The memory and spirit of Mackenzie Forrest is still strong in the Jeffco community.

Girls basketball teams from Lakewood, Green Mountain, D’Evelyn and Ralston Valley came together Nov. 20 to put on the inaugural Kindness Matters Foundation game. The scrimmages featured Green Mountain facing Ralston Valley and Lakewood playing D’Evelyn. Along with the games, there was an online and live auctions.

“The funds raised from this will go to three things — scholarships to Jeffco students, Gold Crown enrichment program and kindness initiatives inside the schools,” said Holger Forrest, father of Mackenzie Forrest.

Mackenzie was a standout basketball player at Lakewood High School from 2012-2016. She finished her four-year run as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,420 points. Tragically, Mackenzie lost her life in a car accident on March 13, 2016.

“It’s still really hard,” Holger Forrest said. “We spent a lot of time in this gym. She did a lot with kids here and it was a great experience for her.”

The Forrest Family started up the Hustle and Heart organization that awards college scholarships for Jeffco students. There is also the wearing a seatbelt — Lil’ Mac Pledge — that started shortly after Mackenzie’s death.

Another avenue that has kept Mackenzie’s spirit in everyone’s minds is the Kindness Matters Scholarships through the Jeffco Schools Foundation. There is a Kindness Matters bench that was built at Devinny Elementary in the Green Mountain-area where Mackenzie attended elementary school.

“On a personal level it means a great deal,” Lakewood coach Chris Poisson said of Forrest’s legacy living on. “It means a great deal to our community. She was so important to our school — model student, model athlete and great character — everyone loved her. On many different levels, its hard to explain how much it means.”

Mackenzie actually played with D’Evelyn feeder program before high school, but ended up going to Lakewood High School.

“With Lakewood being 5A and D’Evelyn being 4A we never had to play each other, but we did support each other,” D’Evelyn coach Chris Olson said. “ We would go to some

Lakewood game and the Forrests would come to some D’Evelyn games. We were able to keep that going. It was fun cheering for each other.”

Olson still recalls that Sunday in March after the state basketball championship games in Boulder when he heard the news of the car accident.

“It was a time of disbelieve,” Olson said. “Everyone was excited she was going to Regis University and staying in town. It was really rough.”

While the sadness of losing Mackenzie still exists her legacy holds a positive impact across Jeffco. Schools across the district are having Kindness Matters initiatives during this time in our world where it seems just being nice is secondary.

D’Evelyn doing a kindness matters project — ‘Thankful Thursdays’. Students will write thank you notes to faculty members, classmates and family.

“If she can still impact kids being kind to someone else … for me it wasn’t about her scoring points,” Holger said. “She meant so much to so many people. That is why we’ll continue this.”

The plan is to hold the Kindness Matters Foundation game each year.

“For a good cause, hopefully to raise some awareness and to help the (Heart & Hustle 33 organization),” Olson said. “We are fortunate to be here and be apart of it. We expect to do this each year and build on it.”

Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.

Mackenzie Forrest, Lil Mack, girls basketball, Lakewood High School, Kindness Matters Foundation

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