NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Students head back to school Tuesday, but leaders with the Norfolk State University basketball program wanted to make sure they help students in need with a last-minute back to school bash.
Coaches and players are not only working to make sure these kids start school with all the supplies they need, but they’re also hoping they can inspire them.
“They already know some of the struggles that we went through and now they are able to interact and understand that we have been there before and we were able to progress and hopefully that they can be in the same shoes that we were, cause we were in their shoes at one point,” said head coach Robert Jones.
Steven Whitley, also known as “Diesel,” plays guard for the Norfolk State Spartans, but on Monday he set aside his jersey to give back to the community.
“I love kids, I love giving back, you know I love helping people that need help,” said Whitley
Whitley is from the Norfolk community.
“Anytime I get a chance to bless the people where I’m from, you know I’m more than happy to help out,” he said.
With the help of Nexx Level Barbershop giving out free haircuts, Whitley and his teammates handed out book bags, notebooks, and pencils and other essentials for back to school.
“They are the future of our country, so you got to really stress education and how important that is to always level up and do better,” said men’s basketball player Jordan Butler.
Whitley said these are the moments he most looks forward to, a time when he can step into the shoes of the players he once looked up to.
“This coming from Norfolk State men’s and women’s basketball team, this is big. Not only does it show that we care, you know, but also to show that we are just trying to look out for the kids cause we know they look up to us,” Whitley said.
Last year they helped more than 100 students with school supplies. This year they are hoping to top that number, and are looking forward to the impact that they’ll make in the years to come.