All about the kids

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The summer months in between school semesters can be ones filled with trips to the beach and video games.

However, some find themselves in situations that are not so friendly.

For some, summer can be a time where kids venture from the classroom to the streets, but Kenneth Jackson and Roddrick Griffin are looking to put a stop to that through the game of basketball.

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The two have put together an AAU team, the Southeast Alabama Gators, in Brundidge where the main objective is to give the kids something to do, while learning at the same time.

“It’s more like an after school program for kids willing to work on their goals,” Jackson said. ¬¬

“What we are doing is giving the kids something to do in the summer when high school is not in session.”

The Gators, which is a non-profit organization, have been around for close to three months.

During that time, two teams have been created, one for 15-year-old and under and another for 15-year-olds and older.

There are already 33 boys and girls a part of organization, according to Jackson.

“Some do play in high school and some don’t – but we want to include anyone that wants to be a part of it,” he said.

“We want to keep the kids interested in something. There is not a lot of things for them to do during the summer, so this gives them an option,” Jackson added.

It also provides an opportunity for kids to learn that the game is not the only important thing in their lives.

“To a lot of kids, basketball is everything,” Griffin said. “And they don’t really care about anything else.

“Here, we teach them that if they want to be able to go play at the next level, they have to have the grades.”

Griffin works with both the girls’ and boys’ basketball teams at Pike County High School and said being a part of something like this is special for both him and the kids.

“This is something that can really help kids and anytime you are a part of that, it’s a good feeling,” he said.

Even though the team has not been around for very long, it has already traveled to play games.

“We went up to Birmingham in May,” Jackson said. “And that was a good experience for them – they got to play against some good talent and see what it takes to be good at this game.”

Jackson added that there are several more trips to Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana planned for the Gators.

Before starting up this organization, Jackson worked with the Brundidge Recreation Department for 15 years, and like Griffin, this is a good experience for him as well.

“We are looking to improves the lives of kids by helping them out and getting them some exposure on the court,” he said.

“Hopefully, this doesn’t last just one year – we want this to be a continuous thing,” Jackson added.

Jackson’s two sons, Kendrick and Kamri, are a part of the organization and a part of the older team.

“It is a good way to have a player’s skills evaluated,” Kendrick said. “And a good way to get better at the game during the offseason.”

“it also allows us to continue working on academics, which is just as important,” he added.