Tulsa Shock Help United Way "Stuff The Bus"

By: Danielle Parker

The Tulsa Shock celebrated the first day of summer at the W.L. Hutcherson Family YMCA for the launch of Tulsa Area United Way’s “Stuff the Bus” Week, a weeklong campaign to prepare families for the school year.

“Our goal for this week is to stuff two school busloads full of school supplies and items to benefit youth and their families, particularly those who are at-risk, and give them a head start for back to school,” TAUW CEO and President Mark Graham said. “Kids get to come in and have fun, while we are working to get them prepared for the fall.”

Everything from pencils and paper to diapers to clothing will be collected throughout the week to be distributed to 31 of the 62 TAUW partner agencies.

To launch this initiative, Tulsa Shock joined TAUW to host a free basketball clinic June 21. Led by the Shock, the Shock Basketball Academy and none other than the team’s mascot, Volt, about 100 children, ages of 8-12, from every background and lifestyle packed into the YMCA to gain a few skills from the pros.

Kiesha Brown, one of the Tulsa Shock’s newest additions, took some time to communicate the need to be active, social, and inspired while getting connected to her new hometown.

“Being here in a new city, a new franchise, it is so great to come here and share my story as an athlete,” Brown said. “And to work with TAUW to put on this clinic just adds to the braid of the community.”

No matter what the children’s background, athletic ability or age was, the message to each was the same, “You can do whatever you put your mind and heart to doing.”

“I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be playing professional basketball player, but I have been able to see what hard work and sacrifice can create in one’s life,” Brown said.

And it was that positive message that helped each child to leave stronger and more confident than when they entered.

“Looking at their faces, they were glued with excitement to each speaker,” Graham commented. “This is a chance for all of these kids to see possibilities, to see role models and to see they can have an exciting future ahead.”

Learn more about Tulsa Area United Way or how to get involved with Stuff the Bus at www.tauw.org.