Basketball games at the McCauley Boys and Girls Club just got way more exciting.
Members of the Edmonton Stingers have signed up as volunteers on a casual basis.
“Our kids here at the McCauley Club love basketball,” said Jenna Brewer with Boys and Girls Club Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton and Area.
“So to see somebody who actually plays professional basketball and have that one-on-one attention is incredible,” Brewer said.
Forward Akeem Ellis and point guard Xavier Moon were shooting hoops with kids on Tuesday, signalling the start of a summer-long commitment to the club.
“Throughout the season they are going to kind of pop in to the clubs when they have a free moment to hang out with our kids,” said Brewer, “the whole team eventually will run through.”
Xavier Moon was already doing similar volunteer work back home in Alabama.
“I know kids look up to guys like us,” said Moon. “It definitely makes an impact.”
As moon visits the Edmonton club throughout the season he knows it’s not hard being a positive role model. Playing ball, reading and generally being around for the kids is all it takes.
With their busy schedules, Moon and his teammates likely won’t become Big Brothers, but the Stingers hope their volunteer work inspires more men to sign up for the year-long, once per week commitment.
More than 900 kids are on the waiting list for the Big Brother or Big Sister programs. Boys make up more than 70 per cent of the kids waiting to be matched with a mentor right now.
Having a positive role model relationship can have a huge impact on their life, according to Brewer.
“Kids that are in our mentorship program are more likely to attend school, they are less likely to get in to trouble,” said Brewer.
If you start the application process now, you could be matched with a little brother or little sister by September. If you don’t have the time for the large commitment, the Stingers point guard says a casual commitment works too.
“I definitely hope that we can make an impact on these kids,” said Moon, “and have more people coming out and doing some of the things we are doing too.”