Wednesday, September 8, 2010
With the new school year just about here in New Jersey, families around the region are heading to stores for the basics for a successful start to the academic year, stocking up on backpacks, crayons, markers, pencils and pens.
For many in the area, however, those basic needs too often go unfulfilled, but Rider University and its men’s basketball program have been working to ensure these critical needs are met and that as many kids as possible have access to these basic leaning tools for a proper education.
This past week, the men’s basketball team collected supplies and donated backpacks filled with pens, pencils, glue sticks, erasers and scissors, as well as Rider T-shirts, and donated them to Larry Richardson and the “It’s Academic Sports Mentorship Program” in Trenton.
The mentorship program is designed to aid elementary- and middle-school students.
“Our goal was to be able to assist children who otherwise could not afford all the things that they need to get the school year off to a good start,” said head coach Tommy Dempsey. “It is important for our basketball program and for Rider University to offer assistance in our community when we have the opportunity.”
The Rider University Bookstore assisted the team with a contribution of folders and Broncs key chains.
Dempsey recalled putting his children on the school bus earlier in the week and the pride he felt as a parent that all of their school supplies were in order and that they were ready to face the upcoming year.
“I’m a father of four and when I dropped off my children at the bus stop Tuesday, they were set to go and had all the things they needed and that is a good feeling as a parent,” Dempsey said. “You can’t assume that everyone will be in that situation, so that’s why we thought this might be a good opportunity to help some families in need.”
Even though he tracks the Broncs’ wins and losses on the court, Dempsey realizes that as a coach, he is an educator first.
“There are so many people and mentors in our community who do great work to support our youth,” Dempsey said. “Any time we have a chance to support one of these programs especially, when the theme is education of our children, it’s important that we do so.”