June 6, 2008
By Leah Thomas – With a little more relaxed summer schedule, the Georgia Tech student-athletes are taking the opportunity to get involved in the community. Thursday afternoon, Georgia Tech’s football and men’s basketball teams “teamed up” with Team Impact, a Cobb County/Acworth AAU basketball team under the direction of Coach Walter Jordan, to bring summer camp to the Hughes Spalding location of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Camp Twin Lakes provides “camp to go” to children in the hospital that are not able to go to summer camp.
Thursday afternoon was “athlete day” where Georgia Tech student-athletes, Team Impact athletes, and several members of the new Atlanta WNBA team led games and other activities for the children in the hospital. Our athletes were split up into groups of two to three and were sent to different floors of the hospital where they infiltrated the waiting rooms and played various indoor games to entertain the kids while they were waiting to be treated. Of course, they also signed plenty of autographs and took lots of pictures. Brad Sheehan patiently answered the same question over and over again, “How tall are you?” – by both kids and adults!
In the meantime, our AAU partners were downstairs making arts and crafts projects that were later used to decorate the kids’ rooms.
As the camp activities concluded, the Tech student-athletes came back to the lobby of the hospital to mix and mingle with the AAU athletes. It was apparent that some of these kids were meeting their Tech heroes! As I approached the lobby, I witnessed Moe Miller and Lance Storrs standing in front of the AAU kids sharing with them what it means to work hard and follow your dreams all the way to playing ball in college (and hopefully beyond).
Moe Miller went on to say, “Be selective with whom you associate yourselves with. Who you hang out with often, at least in the eyes of outsiders, defines WHO you are and what you stand for. Surround yourselves with positive influences and good people.” The mothers of the AAU kids were very pleased to watch their sons intently receive this message.
Moe and Lance were then joined by men’s basketball teammates Gani Lawal, Alade Aminu, D’Andre Bell, and Sheehan who offered similar messages. Joining men’s basketball were Jonathon Dwyer, Roddy Jones, Quincy Kelly, and Clyde Yandell of football. D’Andre Bell took the opportunity to remind those boys that, “Whether it’s playing ball or playing the piano, you were all given a gift by God. It’s up to you to develop that gift and use it to the best you can.” Dwyer seconded that message and added his own thoughts on using your talents to the best that you can.
I was very proud of the Georgia Tech student-athletes and was very proud to be associated with them. First, they acted as role models by simply devoting their Thursday afternoon to give something back to the community, and second, they seized the opportunity to not only act, but to speak wise words to some very impressionable boys and make a positive impact that those boys will remember for years to come.