SPRINGFIELD, Mo.--More than 100 kids in Southwest Missouri are wearing brand new Nikes free of charge.Thanks to retired pro and former Missouri State basketball star, Rob Yanders.
On Sunday, the kids got shoes, shirts, and basketballs at the first Angels of the Hardwood clinic at the Pat Jones YMCA.
Yanders, the founder of his own training facility called The Basketball Movement based in Nixa, was able to give back to kids he was once like.
Christmas came early for dozens of kids like 12-year-old Jamyla Gilmore as they opened up boxes of brand new Nikes.
"It's a blessing because in my family, a lot of my family is basketball players and sometimes we don't get the newest shoes," says Gilmore.
Rob Yanders doesn't see himself or his team as part of any kind of Santa's workshop. They represent something bigger-thus the event's name, Angels of the Hardwood.
"How can I use my gift, which was basketball as a tool and I said you know what, Angels of the Hardwood. We want to be angels, we want to come down and we want to help those that's on the ground and pull them up and help them fly," says Yanders.
The original plan was to give back to 100 kids, but that number grew after kids who hadn't signed up came to the event.
"It turned into almost 130, 140 kids. We just sent someone back to Foot Locker right now to get 20 more pairs of shoes. Like I said, we said we want to leave no child left behind. We want to make sure every kid feels like they're wanted," says Yanders.
"It feels nice because it feels good to have new things like new shoes and shirts cause it looks good," says camp participant, Olivia Canady.
And it's not just about looking good, it's about playing well, which is why the free shoe event came with free training.
"Getting taught new things and learning how to do new things and playing basketball and having fun," says camp participant, Keion Epps.
"I just want to be like Stephen Curry and be on a good women's basketball team," says camp participant, Miracle Dyerlacio.
Before the end of the year, Rob Yanders wants to raise $1 million in at least ten different states and the proceeds will be invested back into the kids.
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