When I walked into the gym at the Chester High School, you could hear the sound of the ball hitting the floor and the screeching of sneakers as the game commenced. Tyreke Evans, NBA star from the New Orleans Pelicans first hometown basketball camp is in session, and both him and the community couldn’t be anymore excited.
The boys and the girls came to show off their talents and Tyreke came to play. These kids needed to bringing their “A” game, because Tyreke was not letting these kids off easy, but, there is more happening here than just a pick up game.
As someone who grew up in Chester, Tyreke can relate to the challenges and struggles the kids here face.
During the camp, Tyreke shared some of the lessons he learned on his road from Chester to the NBA, starting with one big point. He wanted to let the kids know that they needed to have a bigger plan.
Tyreke told them, “Basketball is never promised, you always have to have a backup plan.”
He stressed the important of studying and staying in school so that just in case their NBA dreams fell through they would have something to fall back on. The message was clear, work hard and be prepared. Tyreke also reminded the young people that even a ticket to the NBA doesn’t mean that they have “made it.” He explained how quickly an injury could end their NBA dreams and without a plan for what to do next, you could find yourself out of luck.
It’s no secret, that one of Tyreke’s most valuable assets was his great support system. He knows that not everyone has that kind of support, so when he talked to the kids he told them to stay focused on what they want and to do their best.
This is the first year that Tyreke brought his basketball camp to his hometown of Chester, but it won’t be his last. By the response, it was obvious that the people appreciated the basketball camp. The young people left with book bags filled with school supplies and sunglasses, but that wasn’t all Tyreke brought with him.
Outside of Chester High School, there was a different kind of sound. VSP Vision Care’s 45-foot long mobile eye exam clinic was also buzzing with excitement, but not because of basketball. Local residents sat outside waiting for their chance to go see the eye doctor to get their vision checked and to get the glasses they needed to see, all free of charge.
This week, Tyreke’s partnered with VSP Vision Care served hundreds of Chester residents. Jim McGrann, the president of VSP Vision Care said the company is commitment to helping people see, and to helping them understand the importance of eye health. Eye exams are an important tool in the fight of early detection of problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. So, Tyreke’s partnership with VSP Vision Care translates into thousands of Chester residents being given free eye exams and free glasses.
Tyreke’s basketball camp and the community outreach effort gave him a chance to give those young people who look up to him hope. While his partnership with VSP Vision Care allowed him to meet a very real need in his community, eye care for people who needed it.
The shirts and the book bag the kids received from VSP Vision Care and Tyreke will be a constant reminder of the time he spent with them. Hopefully along with the pictures, book bags and the glasses, the kids will carry the lessons Tyreke shared with them and put them to good use.
For more information on VSP Vision Care visit vsp.com
Aida is a mom, daughter, sister, and aunt who loves and values family.She uses her talents to help people with a message reach their audience.
Thanks to VSP for sponsoring this post.