Students with the boys and girls basketball team at Southeast Elementary School in Fresno have something to cheer about. "I'm going to be able to jump higher, run faster and shoot better," said 5th grader Sonny Garcia. That's because each team member will receive a much-needed pair of basketball shoes.
"There's a big need for some tennis shoes and when I see them in practice and I started looking that they were complaining that some of their feet were wet, and I said, 'what's happening here.' There were actually holes," said basketball coach Rudy Recendez.
Several students in this low-income neighborhood say their parents can't afford basketball sneakers. Some have been wearing the same worn-out shoes for years. "They'd be happy with anything, but we wanted to just kick it up a notch and just make it special for them," said Fresno City Councilman Sal Quintero. Quintero heard about the need and wanted to make sure each student had a pair of brand-name sneakers. He found a partner in sporting goods store, Big 5.
"I really believe it means a lot. I grew up in this neighborhood so I knew that it meant to me and income-wise, not much has changed," said Quintero.
"It means a lot, like a lot," said Ashley Herr. "Very thoughtful for them to be brining shoes to us," said Ashley Yng.
Students were fitted for their shoe size after practice Thursday evening. "We won't slip and probably we will have more grip to the blacktop," said Herr.
A gift these students say will advance their undefeated winning streak on the court.