Assignment: Give basketball shoes to a teenager playing high school basketball in someone else's (way too large) shoes.
Referring Officers: Columbus Division of Police Officers Nick Powell and Joe Shalek
While working 7 Precinct in East Columbus, Officers Nick Powell and Joe Shalek met a security guard who is also the basketball coach at a local high school. They struck up a friendship and talk with him and the kids often. They noticed one of the boys was playing in shoes that were way too large for him and asked about him. Coach said he came all summer in Crocs, determined to play no matter what, and he borrowed another coach's shoes in order to play.
Officers Powell and Shalek asked us if we'd be able to pay for basketball shoes for the boy. Thanks to donations to our general fund, that was an easy yes. As we spoke to them, it was very clear that they have a high regard for what Coach is doing for these kids and his community.
They said Coach is amazing--he recently disarmed a teen who'd brought a gun to school (not affiliated with the basketball program) --and that he and his wife often buy the kids things with their own money. The basketball program relies heavily on alumni donations because it is not well funded, and the boys have a very hard time paying for things like warm-up suits, or even khakis and polo shirts to wear to away games. If they don't have money at home, and many don't, they obviously can't buy proper athletic shoes.
The brother of one of the players was murdered recently, and programs like this are incredibly helpful to keeping boys engaged. The officers are in touch with some other local charities, and we also gave them the website findhelp.org so they can refer people to it as needed.
We donated $500 from our general fund to support this phenomenal basketball program. The officers and Coach can work together to identify the greatest needs the team has. If you are able to contribute, we are accepting donations through September 30.
Thank you to everyone who let us help these officers help this coach and his team. We appreciate you!