July 21, 2014
AUBURN, Ala. -- The Auburn's women's basketball team hosted a group from Expressions of a BraveHeart on Saturday for an afternoon of fun and fellowship at the Auburn Arena practice facility.
Approximately 20-25 youth and young adults participated in the two-hour event as Auburn's players and coaches spent time playing and teaching basketball to the BraveHearts, a group of youth and young adults (ages 11-21) with moderate to severe disabilities.
"I have been doing this since I have been in elementary school," junior forward Tra'Cee Tanner said. "This means a lot to me because I know of the struggles that they go through and how difficult it is to adjust in situations. For them to come out and have fun today means a lot to all of us. I just hope they get the most out of it and they can come back next year and remember our faces and come out and support us."
The program meets twice a month with participants selecting art, music or dance class sessions, and the Auburn women's basketball team has been involved with the organization for the last two years.
"It was an awesome, awesome event," assistant coach Adrian Walters said. "The girls were working hard, and the kids really enjoyed it. This is an excellent opportunity for us to give back. We learned more about ourselves by trying to teach them. We are hoping to continue to do this every year. I think our girls had more fun than the kids."
The program is sponsored by Opelika Parks and Recreation. Unique to this program, compared to other programs offered through community recreation centers, each participant is matched with a primary coach, an AU student volunteer, whose role is to facilitate maximum benefit through participation by providing one-on-one attention, support and encouragement based on individual needs.
"This is our second year doing the event, and we are very excited," Angie Burque, director of Expressions of a BraveHeart, said. "The kids get excited about it. It gives them some insight in Auburn Athletics and in the women's basketball program. The women's basketball team has been absolutely fabulous."