RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Fathers serving jail sentences had an opportunity to use basketball to strengthen relationships with their sons Wednesday. The Hoops for Hope program was a first-time partnership between the Richmond City and Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Offices.
Eight inmates from the Richmond City Justice Center and three residents from the Chesterfield County Jail were selected to participate. They each completed an intensive 21-class curriculum consisting of fatherhood and manhood classes. The men then focused on team-building with their sons on the basketball court.
“I’m a father myself, and I know how important it is for fathers to see their sons and engage with them as often as possible,” says Richmond Sheriff C.T. Woody. “This is an opportunity for these men to spend time with their children in an activity that fathers do with their sons every day.”
Adds Chesterfield Sheriff Karl Leonard, “No one person can guarantee successful re-entry into society, not even one organization. It takes a community working together to ensure it happens.”
Celebrity coaches were invited to guide the teams as they played out their games. Retired former NBA player Ben Wallace, current NBA player Ed Davis, and VCU Ram’s players Mo Alie-Cox and Torey Burston coached their respective teams through a series of routine practice drills.
“Being from the Richmond area, growing up here and going to school here, it’s important for me to return to my roots as often as I can and help in any way I can,” says Davis, who is currently with the Portland Trail Blazers.
“The reason I am doing this event is that I enjoy giving back to the community and helping others. Putting a smile on other people’s faces is something that has always brought me great joy.”
Hoops for Hope was sponsored by Haley Buick GMC and the Richmond Family Fatherhood Initiative.