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Ninety percent of the more than 400 students who go to Ferguson Academy were in attendance for the welcome assembly hosted by WJLB FM 98 Morning Show Announcers – CoCo. The entire Shock team and coaching staff were on hand to host a Read To Achieve event in the newly unveiled resource center along with the students and their children. Following the welcome assembly – which featured DJ Earl “Mixin’” McKinney spinning some jams on the turntables – a Be Smart, Be Fit, Be Yourself clinic was held in the gym and a Steps To Success life skills forum in the auditorium. Players and coaches also made room-by-room visits to the nurseries. A heart-felt speech by Cash’s mother Cynthia touched all in attendance and even brought some young mothers to tears.
“Cash for Kids Charity is proud to partner with the Detroit Shock and Pistons-Palace Foundation to stress the importance of literacy, to provide the educational tools the students need to succeed, and to applaud their choice to get in the game,” said Cash, a two-time WNBA All-Star and 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist. “My mother was a single, teen mom for a few years and realizes the challenges these young women face on a daily basis. This is an extremely unique and powerful project for her and I to contribute too. God has blessed my mother and I, so it is only right we give back to help make a difference in these young women’s lives.”
Ferguson Academy is an alternative high school, with more than 400 students who almost all either have a child, or are pregnant. It is one of only three schools in the country that allows students to bring their child with them to school each day until they graduate, with nurseries and childcare available on-site. Ferguson Academy students typically graduate, advance their education, and move on to have successful careers. This initiative addresses teen pregnancy as thousands of female students get pregnant and drop-out of school in Detroit annually. Also being addressed is the importance of mothers reading to their children. Studies show that vocabulary of children of teen mothers is substantially less than that of children born to non-teen mothers. “It was an enjoyable experience...I'm looking forward to coming back next year and see how things are going and what the teachers have added to the rooms now that we have books for our little ones" - Angelique French, 2006 Senior Class President.