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.