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Encouraged by Basketball Smiles, Alex Goes to School

Six-year-old Alex attended his first Basketball Smiles camp in 2011. Because of his family's financial conditions and home situation, Alex had never been enrolled in school and had little hope of future attendance. His sister Angela sat down with Alex's Coaches and they strongly encouraged her to enroll Alex in school in the fall of 2011, emphasizing the necessity of education and that school was crucial to his development and future.

Michael with Basketball Smiles Coach Sam. Image copyright Donald W. Knowles

"We could see such a passion for life beaming from him," said Coach Stephanie, "He needed to know that we believed in him so that he could begin to believe in himself.

On the last day of 2011 camp, Alex was awarded the “Hustle Award” for his age group. He was so proud.

When it was time to eat, Alex put his trophy into his backpack. After eating, he discovered his trophy had been stolen. The coaches immediately gathered their group together, told them what had happened and insisted that Alex’s trophy be found and returned. Ultimately, a boy came forward and brought the trophy that he had “found.”

Recovering the trophy sealed the bond between Basketball Smiles and Alex and Angela.

The next year, coaches looked for Alex to sign in on the first day of camp, but, sadly he didn’t come. But Angela brought Alex on Tuesday. It was an exciting and emotional reunion.

Alex and Angela were eager to tell us that Alex had completed his first year of school and was a good student. She also said the encouragement and prodding that she received from Basketball Smiles coaches was pivotal in her decision to enroll him in school.

She said, “If I had not enrolled Alex in school, I couldn’t bring Alex back to Basketball Smiles Camp and face the coaches. I couldn’t have disappointed you that way.”

Alex had a great week of camp and told the coaches many stories of how much he enjoyed his first year in school. On the final day of camp, Alex and Angela expressed their gratitude and said they would see us again in 2013 and give us a report on Alex’s 2012-2013 school year.

Alex has been in camp every summer and is on track to graduate high school on time.

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