Update on our kids

 

Update

Hurricane Isaias is hitting The Bahamas, the latest in a series of disasters that have pummeled the islands since Aug. 24-Sept. 10, 2019, when Hurricane Dorian struck, the most intense tropical cyclone on record to hit the islands.

The economy crashed after Dorian, and COVID shut down the tourist industry, on which at least 95 percent of the people depend. From taking in relatives who no longer have homes to being hungry to illness, closed schools and no social services to help, our kids have suffered extensively, even before Isaias appeared on the horizon.

Isaias is drenching the island paradise amid a resurgence in COVID with curfews and lock-downs. The hurricane shelters on some of the islands have not been rebuilt, leaving the people defenseless.

Our kids need our prayers, and they will need our help more than ever. Basketball Smiles responded last year after the devastation of Dorian, providing much needed school supplies, and we will respond this year, too.

Be thinking about what you can do to help our children, and in the meantime, pray for them.

#Bahamas #hurricane #poverty #BasketballSmiles #philanthropy #children #hope

How Basketball Smiles Changed Shashonna Smith’s Life

Coach Sam Nichols and Coach Shashonna Smith

Coach Sam Nichols was observing a group of campers in drills in 2018 when two arms bear-hugged him from behind. He looked around, and there was Shashonna Smith, who began attending Basketball Smiles camps when she was in the 6th grade.

She had come by to tell him personally that she now was the head girls’ basketball coach and cosmetology teacher at Telos Christian High School in Nassau. She was using a talent she discovered at Basketball Smiles.

When Shashonna first came to camp, she attended the morning girls’ session, but she had to stay all day because her younger brother was in the boys’ afternoon session. The coaches kept her busy in the afternoons by letting her help the coaches assigned to the smaller children.

After a couple of days, the coaches told Coach Sam how impressed they were with Shashonna’s aptitude for coaching and wanted him to observe her work with the younger children.

After watching her, he saw that she, indeed, had a gift for coaching, which he intended to help her develop.

For the next six years, Shashonna participated in the girls’ morning session and actively coached in the boys’ session in the afternoon. Each year coaches gave her more responsibilities until she finally was coaching without supervision.

Coach Sam told her she had a gift for coaching and encouraged her to consider teaching and coaching as a profession. Shashonna said she was hoping to become a teacher and coach and said she had gained confidence through her experience coaching with Basketball Smiles.

Shashonna has achieved her dream. As the head coach, she has the opportunity to influence the lives of the approximately 30 girls in her program. She thanked Coach Sam for giving her the chance to coach when she was still in junior high school, for believing in her and encouraging her to go to college to become a teacher and coach.

In 2019, Shashonna coached with Basketball Smiles and brought her 30 girls to camp, as well.

Our Kids and Hurricane Disaster

Update:

Hurricane Dorian School Readiness Initiative

Basketball Smiles has launched an initiative to get our kids back in school. These are children who are displaced and have lost everything. We are working with local businesses in the Bahamas, counselors and coaches and schools with which we have a long-term relationship to create something of normalcy in these children’s lives.

Kids have to have uniforms to attend school in the Bahamas, so we are providing those. They also have to have school supplies. We are sending those, too.

Children from all the islands need your help.

Hurricane Dorian – August 24, 2019

“When you look into the eyes of these children it’s like there’s no one there — they’re still in shock. They have nothing.” — Coach Patty Johnson

About seven years ago we conducted a day camp at Abaco and this past summer we had some campers from Abaco who attended the Basketball Smiles Camp. This disaster is personal to the Basketball Smiles family.

Although Nassau was not seriously affected by Dorian, many of the displaced families from Abaco and Freeport have relocated to Nassau.

Nassau was not seriously affected; however, these families are trying to start over while living with family members in Nassau. The school age children are being spread out among the schools in Nassau and several of them are being placed at H. O. Nash Jr. High School which has been our base of operations for the past twenty years in the Bahamas.

I have been in constant communication with Coach Patty Johnson at Nash since Dorian struck the Bahamas, and I asked her how her Basketball Smiles family can help these precious children who have lost everything.

Patty told me, “When you look into the eyes of these children, it’s like there’s no one there — they’re still in shock. They have nothing.”  It breaks my heart knowing these boys and girls literally have nothing — no home, no school supplies, minimal clothing and are just living a day-to-day existence.

We have reached out to all of our donors during September to make a financial gift to help these children with some of their most basic needs — toiletries, school supplies, clothing, etc. Over the years, I have developed a great relationship with Greg Kelly who owns Kelly’s Home Store in Nassau, which is comparable to Walmart or Target here in Texas. He will sell me these items at a very discounted price. Coach Patty can go to Kelly’s and pick up what these children need. Then, I approve the invoice via email, and the children get what they need — immediately! No red tape, no delay. These essential articles go directly to those who need it the most!

So, Basketball Smiles is fully committed to helping as much as we can to meet the immediate needs of our extended family in the Bahamas, while we continue to press on toward our 2020 Camp.

20 Years of Basketball Smiles

In June 2019 we reached some significant milestones in the history of Basketball Smiles – our 20th Anniversary Camp!

Since 1999, we have served over 11,000 boys and girls through our Basketball Smiles Camp in Nassau and surrounding areas. Through generous donations from supporters over the years, we have also been able to provide academic materials to their hard-working teachers as an additional support throughout the year. That’s a staggering impact you have helped us make upon the future generations in the Bahamas.

Our camps are special – Basketball Smiles has grown to where we are possibly the largest free basketball camp in the entire Caribbean. No child ever pays to attend is never turned away from our camps.

As we prepare for our 21st Basketball Smiles Camp in June 2020, we are always striving to find innovative and creative ways to make basketball instruction the very best. We aspire to instill in these children the important lessons of self-respect, citizenship, service to others, and academic responsibility.

At every camp we  provide water, ice, and a nutritious meal to each camper every day. It takes a lot of supplies to make camp work (over 165 gallons of water and 175 pounds of ice over just four days!!) We also provide every camper with a t-shirt, their own personal basketball, and a school backpack. Being able to do this each year puts many priceless smiles on these children’s faces.

None of this would be possible without so many great people in both the United States and the Bahamas donating their time and financial resources. Your generous support makes everything come together. On behalf of the boys and girls of Basketball Smiles, we say, “Thank You!” to everyone who continues to make Basketball Smiles a uniquely successful venture.

We always consider it a privilege and honor to spend a week with these boys and girls and bring a week of smiles and hope through basketball.

Please consider joining with us to help children that no one else will help.

Remember, Basketball Smiles is a 501(c) 3 charity, and your gifts are tax deductible. Because YOU believe in the vision of Basketball Smiles, we continue to transform the lives of boys and girls who have no one else to help them.

Please contact us at samnchls@yahoo.com. Let’s talk about how we can work together to continue bringing a week of smiles and hope through basketball.

Sam Nichols
Basketball Smiles
President/Founder

Coaches Corner 2018

It’s hard to imagine that each year Basketball Smiles keeps getting bigger and
better! In 2017 we had another great group of volunteers that pitched in and made
everything run smoothly to give the boys and girls a super camp experience.

Our Texan and Bahamian coaches were able to serve boys and girls of all ages by
giving them quality basketball instruction and teaching valuable life lessons in our
Life Skills program.

As we prepare for our 19th Anniversary Camp, we always consider it a privilege
and honor to spend a week with these boys and girls and “bring a week of smiles
and hope through basketball.”

We are always looking for innovative ways to make the basketball instruction the very best and creative ways to instill in these children the important lessons of self-respect, citizenship, service to others, and academic responsibility.

As always, we will provide water, ice, and a nutritious meal to each camper every
day. It takes a lot of supplies to make camp work (over 125 gallons of water and
175 pounds of ice over just four days!!) and we could not provide these things
without your generous support.

We also continue to provide academic materials for the inner city schools to hard-working teachers who are educating these boys and girls.

Another annual goal of ours is to provide every camper with a t-shirt, their own
personal basketball, and a school backpack. Being able to do this each year puts
many priceless smiles on these children’s faces.

None of this would be possible without so many great people in both the United States and the Bahamas donating their time and financial resources. On behalf of the boys and girls of Basketball Smiles, we say, “Thank You!” to everyone who continues to make Basketball Smiles a successful venture.

Remember, Basketball Smiles is a 501(c) 3 charity, and your gifts are tax deductible. Because YOU believe in the vision of Basketball Smiles, we continue to transform lives.

Since we began in 1999, we have now served over 10,000 boys and girls – that’s a
staggering impact you have helped us make upon the future generations in the Bahamas.

This year we will continue with our original vision — No child is ever turned away from our camp, and our camps are always free to all.

Please contact us at samnchls@yahoo.com. Let’s talk about how we can work together to continue “bringing a week of smiles and hope through basketball.”

Sam Nichols

Basketball Smiles

President/Founder

Coaches Corner 2016

DSC_6937

Our 17th Anniversary Basketball Smiles Camp is coming soon! Camp dates are June 20-24 at C.I. Gibson High school Nassau, Bahamas.

Girls camp: 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Boys camp: 1 p.m.-4 p.m.

Camps are 100% free to all boys and girls of all ages! Quality basketball instruction along with life skills coaching. We cannot wait to spend a week with over 300 boys and girls!

Sweet 16 Basketball Smiles Camp

Basketball Smiles “Sweet 16” Camp is just around the corner!

Camp dates are this June 15-17 at C. I. Gibson High School in Nassau, Bahamas. Girls camp: 9 am – 12 pm and Boys camp: 1 pm – 4 pm. Camps are always free to boys and girls of all ages! Quality basketball instruction along with life skills coaching. We cannot wait to spend a week with these boys and girls.

Coaches Corner 2014

Our 15th Anniversary celebration of Basketball Smiles Camp in June 2014 was a tremendous success! It’s hard to imagine that each year keeps getting bigger and better. We had another great group of volunteers that pitched in and made everything run smoothly to give the boys and girls a super camp experience. Our Texan and Bahamian coaches were able to serve the 300 boys and girls of all ages by giving them quality basketball instruction and teaching valuable life skills in our Life Skills program. This year we once again focused on citizenship, personal responsibility, and academic success.

As always, we were able to provide water, ice, and a nutritious meal to each camper every day. It takes a lot of supplies to make camp work (over 125 gallons of water and 175 pounds of ice over just four days!!) and we could not provide these things without your generous support.  We also continue to provide academic materials for the inner city schools to hard-working teachers who are educating these boys and girls.

Another annual goal of ours is to provide every camper with a t-shirt, their own personal basketball, and a new special gift we were able to provide this year was the sling backpack.  Being able to do this each year puts many priceless smiles on these children’s faces.  None of this would be possible without so many great people in both the United States and the Bahamas donating their time and financial resources.  On behalf of the boys and girls of Basketball Smiles, we say, “Thank You!” to everyone who continues to make Basketball Smiles a successful venture.  Remember, Basketball Smiles is a 501 (c) 3 charity, and your gifts are tax deductible.

 

2015 will be our “SWEET 16 CAMP” as we celebrate our sixteenth year of Basketball Smiles. This year, camp dates will be June 15th-17th, 2015, and will continue with our original vision- No child is ever turned away from our camp, and our camps are always free to all! We are currently looking to expand our staff for 2015. If you are interested in becoming a part of the Basketball Smiles team, either as a coach, volunteer, or in any other way, please contact us at samnchls@yahoo.com.

 

Let’s talk about how we can work together to continue “bringing a week of smiles and hope through basketball.”

Sam Nichols

Basketball Smiles

President/Founder

Coaches Corner 2013

2013 was another tremendous summer for Basketball Smiles.  Thanks to a wonderful group of volunteers, our 14th annual Basketball Smiles Camp was our best ever!  We had over 300 boys and girls from every age group who were given quality basketball instruction by a wonderful staff of Texas and Bahamian coaches.

19a

In addition to the basketball, we held our daily Life Skills program, emphasizing citizenship, personal responsibility, and academic success.  Because of your generous financial support, we were able to feed a nutritious meal daily to all campers.  Over 90 gallons of water and 120 pounds of ice were needed to keep our campers fresh during the June tropical heat!  We also continue to provide academic materials for the inner city schools to hard-working teachers who are educating these boys and girls.

At the end of camp, every camper was given a t-shirt, shorts, socks, and their own personal basketball!  None of this would be possible without so many great people in both the United States and the Bahamas donating their time and financial resources.  On behalf of the boys and girls of Basketball Smiles, we say, “Thank You!” to everyone who continues to make Basketball Smiles a successful venture.  Remember, Basketball Smiles is a 501 (c) 3 charity, and your gifts are tax deductible.

This year, camp dates will be June 16-19, 2014, and will continue with our original vision- No child is ever turned away from our camp, and our camps are always free to all!

We are currently looking to expand our staff for 2014. If you are interested in becoming a part of the Basketball Smiles team, either as a coach, volunteer, or in any other way, please contact us at samnchls@yahoo.com.

Let’s talk about how we can work together to continue “bringing a week of smiles and hope through basketball.”

Sam Nichols

Basketball Smiles

President/Founder