INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Kids from Richmond got the life-changing opportunity to come to a Pacers-Grizzlies game to meet Richmond native Desmond Bane, who now plays for the Grizzlies.
The trip brought more than 80 kids on two coach buses across the state for a day in Indianapolis.
“I started getting more and more excited the closer we got to the court,” said Trae Sewell, a 6th grader on the Richmond group basketball trip. “We were supposed to be sitting and when I saw the people play, my mood just totally changed.”
La’nya Gray, a 3rd grader, said she went on the trip with her three older sisters and many friends from the Boys and Girls Club.
“I was really excited and I was waiting for this day just to be super excited,” said Gray.
The goal of the trip was to broaden horizons. Trip organizers said many of the kids had never been outside of Richmond before these trips.
Alicia Painter works with the Boys and Girls Club of Wayne County. She helped organize the trip for kids across a handful of Richmond organizations.
“[We aim to] provide opportunities that they wouldn’t have unless others believed in them and offered that opportunity to them, and that’s exactly what happened,” Painter said. “We really targeted youth that wouldn’t be able to attend this trip unless so many generous people came together and supported them.”
The trip was made possible by 30 donors in Richmond who pooled together $23,000 to send these kids to the game.
“Incredibly generous and we wanted to do a special shoutout to all those people because none of this would have happened without those people being willing to give the money,” said Richard Lake, a trip co-organizer. Incredibly generous and we wanted to do a special shoutout to all those people because none of this would have happened without those people being willing to give the money.”
“This cost me zero dollars because of all the people that gave in Richmond and bought the opportunity for us to come here and watch the game,” said Sewell.
Ultimately, the goal was to show the kids their dreams can come true with some drive and dedication.
“Desmond is just a huge role model for our youth,” Painter said. “He played basketball in the same gym that a lot of kids play in today, and so, having the opportunity for our youth to see what the future can look like if you work really hard is just amazing.”
“That means anyone can do it if your heart is in the right place,” said Sewell.
Bane was injured before the game, but that allowed him to spend a lot of time with the kids who admire him.