ROCKWOOD—Five members of the Roane State Raiders basketball team recently took time off from studying for finals to become role models for some Roane Academy youth.
Squad members spent the afternoon of April 26 at the Roane Academy, a residential facility for adolescent males who have experienced complex trauma. Currently in the state child welfare system, the children have been exposed to multiple traumatic events—such as abuse, neglect, domestic violence, multiple losses—that can have substantial and lasting effects if left untreated.
Teresa Duncan, vice president of workforce development for the college, became familiar with Roane Academy through visits its residents have made to local athletic events as rewards for growth and change that shows in treatment progress and safe, healthy decisions. In response, she contacted Roane State Raiders Head Coach Randy Nesbit, requesting that the team spend some time with Roane Academy youth.
Raiders team members Grant Holt, Garrett Crandell, Blake Ervin, Tyler Thompson, and Ricky Shearman interacted with Roane Academy residents, from playing pickup basketball games to dunking exhibitions to simply talking with them.
“It was really nice to see our guys helping out some of these kids who need a little bit of guidance and someone to look up to,” Holt said.
“Above all, they showed the boys respect and care, something these boys haven’t always received in their lives,” Duncan said. “Our players encouraged the boys to focus on receiving an education as part of their life goals.”
“Our goal was to show the Roane Academy boys that they too can overcome adversity,” Duncan added.
The Roane Academy residents also enjoyed receiving “treat bags” put together by the Roane State Enrollment and One Stop teams. Roane Academy residents responded with thank you notes.
“Little things like knowing someone cares enough to come and visit goes a long way,” one note stated.
Holt added that his team members also enjoyed the visit and were discussing when they could go back and see the kids again.
This press release was submitted by Owen Driskill.