7-year-old’s letter prompts early reopening of community basketball court in Norfolk

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Since March 2020, a basketball court in the Norfolk Redevelopment Housing Authority’s Oakleaf Forest community was closed.

But today, the hoops are up, thanks to an assist from a 7-year-old small forward.

“Hmmm I’m about … this good,” said Messiah Freeman, stretching his arms out to show how good he is.

Messiah Freeman, with a little teamwork from his mother, penned a letter asking his rental office to open up the courts.

“He told me what he wanted to write down, so I wrote it down,” said Stephanie Montanez, Messiah’s mother. “What I didn’t know was that he delivered the letter to the rent office, and a week later actually followed up on it.”

“He was feeling just as a lot of kids were feeling,” said Julius Norman, the youth program manager at NRHA.

Eventually, the letter reached Ron Jackson, the executive director of NRHA, who invited Messiah to a a pickup game at the reopened basketball court. He also wanted to meet to applaud him for voicing his concerns.

“Your letter really showed that you’re mature beyond your age. That showed me that you had a lot of courage, and that you’re a potential leader… Now I understand how important having the playgrounds open — how important that is to kids like you,” Jackson said to Messiah.

Not only are the rims open, but the NRHA has brought back other summer programs so kids like Messiah can get outside and release that pent-up quarantine energy.

“We have programs that will sponsor kids to go to summer camp, summer camps to YMCAs, to the Kroc Center, swimming camps, and different places like that,” said Norman.

Norman also asks parents to volunteer and sign their kids up for the summer time activities.

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